EuroMillions League - Proximus Spirou Charleroi dominates Antwerp Giants on Jan. 16th, 2018

Bert and one of his sons were offered some tickets to attend the EuroMillions League game between Proximus Spirou Charleroi of Head Coach Brian Lynch and Antwerp Giants of Belgian Coach Roel Moors held at the Spiroudome on Tuesday, Jan. 16th, 2018. This Belgian basketball shock drove a rather small attendance of around 1,500 basketball fans in the large arena of Charleroi, Belgium which can seat 6,000 people. Giants' Belgian talent Hans Vanwijn (6'9", power forward, born in 1995) was well present on the court and wore a mask to protect his broken nose. The game started very well for the hosts. Led by a pretty efficient Rasko Katic (6'10", center, born in 1980) in the paint, Spirou Charleroi quickly built a rather interesting advantage. The experienced Serbian center who won the silver medal at the FIBA World Cup 2014 looked as impressive as ever and scored the first 6 points for Spirou. The home squad played well and was pretty efficient offensively. The Spirou players were also helped by the Giants who missed many attempts from various ranges. From long range, the visitors even had a poor 3/11 in the first quarter. After 16-10, the men of Brian Lynch managed to stay focused. Despite being outrebounded by their guests, Spirou reached the end of the first period with a 5-point lead: 18-13. Belgian international player Alex Libert (6'5", guard, born in 1990) had adjusted the tempo for the hosts during most of the first quarter.

The second quarter looked different and, on a three-pointer by US point guard Paris Lee (6'0", born in 1995, Illinois State '17), the Giants even took the lead at 20-21. Later on, the Antwerpenaars, via their impressive Nigerian-American forward Moses Kingsley (6'10", born in 1994, Arkansas '17), made 20-24 and forced Spirou Charleroi to react. The 37-year-old player Rasko Katic sat on the bench most of the second quarter and Belgian tall man Amaury Gorgemans (7'0", center, born in 1992) got some playing time. The Giants turned the ball over on several occasions afterwards. Keaton Grant (6'4", shooting guard, born in 1986, Purdue '10) as well as his mates Scott Thomas (6'6", small forward, born in 1989, Bowling Green '12) and Seth Tuttle (6'8", forward, born in 1992, Northern Iowa '15)) worked hard on both sides of the court and did all they could to put Spirou Charleroi back on top at the break. They managed to do so and the scoreboard showed 36-32 for the home team at the half.

When back from the locker rooms, the Giants could not avoid some new turnovers. At some point, the visitors of Coach Roel Moors looked quite tired. Spirou Charleroi digged the gap despite some nice efforts done by Antwerp Giants' American shooter Jason Clark (6'2", guard, born in 1990, Georgetown '12). Clark scored and offered the Giants a chance to stay in the race at 48-41. This game was also another chance to see two former Davidson Wildcats' guards play against each other: Tyler Kalinoski (6'4", born in 1992) for Antwerp Giants on one hand and Jack Gibbs (6'0", born in 1995) for Spirou Charleroi on the other hand. Davidson, also the former college of Golden State Warriors' playmaker Stephen Curry, produced another good player who ended up in Belgium's pro basketball competition in the past: Ben Ebong, a well-known former power forward who played for Euphony Bree in 2007, Dexia Union Mons-Hainaut from 2007 to 2010 and BC Telenet Oostende in 2010. On the night of Jan. 16th, 2018, Jack Gibbbs was definitely the most impressive Davidson player on the court although he did not play much in the first half. He hit two crucial shots from downtown in the last minutes of the third quarter to give Spirou a rather comfortable lead. He was also attributed a very nice assist for passing the ball to his mate Ioann Iarochevitch (6'10", power forward/center, born in 1989), isolated under the basket, who converted an unexpected layup on a spectacular team play right before the end of the third quarter. The scoreboard showed 65-50 after 30 minutes of play.

In the last quarter, Rasko Katic was back in action and helped his team secure the win. He eventually had 17 points after having played only 17 minutes in this very enjoyable game. Spirou controlled the final quarter and gave their opponents no opportunity to get closer. The Giants forced too many shots and faced problems to score during most of the game (16/36 from two-point range and 9/29 from three-point range). On a nice last emphatic alley-oop dunk, Spirou Charleroi's Slovakian eternal prospect Michal Fusek (7'4", center, born in 1995) fixed the final score of this matchup at 87-70... Niels Marnegrave (6'3", point guard, born in 1987) with the last dish! It will be interesting to follow Fusek's performances with Slovakia's national team in the future and we should hope that he will eventually get more playing time with Spirou Charleroi later this year.

Score evolution: 18-13, 36-32, 65-50 and 87-70.

Best scorers:
Spirou: Alex Libert 7; Michal Fusek 2; Ioann Iarochevitch 4; Niels Marnegrave 4; Seth Tuttle 9; Scott Thomas 9; Jack Gibbs 15; Amaury Gorgemans 6; Rasko Katic 17; Keaton Grant 14.
Giants: Paris Lee 10; Dennis Donkor 7; Jason Clark 14; Hans Vanwijn 5; Yoeri Schoepen 3; Thomas Akyazili 5; Moses Kingsley 9; Dave Dudzinski 11; Tyler Kalinoski 2, Roby Rogiers 4.

(Pictures: Sean Pokorny/USA Today Sports, Belga and

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