A look back at the Belgian derby in Group E of the FIBA Europe Cup: Spirou Basket Charleroi vs. Phoenix Brussels Basketball – Game day 5 on Nov. 19th, 2019

Phoenix Brussels defeated Spirou Basket Charleroi by a close margin of 3 points (104-101 after overtime) in the first Belgian derby of the 2019-20 FIBA Europe Cup in Neder-over-Hembeek on Oct. 30th, 2019. Bert and his son Théo went to the Dome in Charleroi to attend the second act of the Belgian derby on Nov. 19th. It looked hard for the local organizing committee to attract basketball fans and enthusiasts and only a very sparse crowd joined the arena for what was nevertheless a very attracting game on paper. The first cold temperatures combined with the Belgian national team’s soccer game against Cyprus broadcasted on the public television did not really help in boosting the fans to travel to the Dome.

Former Belgian Lion Khalid Boukichou, who was hired by Spirou Charleroi a few days before the contest, had an impressive start in the game. He controlled the traffic in the paint and actually scored the first 9 points of his team, to the joy of the few local fans who believed that they had made the right choice to attend the derby. Ordane Kanda, injured, was unavailable for Spirou Charleroi. Khaliq Spicer and Aleks Lichodzijewski, both Brussels Basketball’s big men, were also injured and not able to play. The home squad performed well and offered a great rhythm in the first minutes of the game. The Spirou guard Alex Libert, also a member of Belgium’s National Team, hit 3 three-pointers to dig a very first gap at 21-10. Brussels Phoenix’s Head Coach Serge Crevecoeur tried to find solutions to stop Khalid Boukichou in the paint. After having noticed that Jonathan Augustin-Fairell had some trouble when defending on Boukichou, Crevecoeur decided to give the freshly hired Croatian player Josip Jukic a chance to show his defensive talent. The Croatian center, maybe too zealous, was nevertheless quickly called 3 fouls by the referees and then came back to sit on the bench. On the Spirou side, the American player Josh Sharma also came off the bench to let his mate Khalid Boukichou rest. The American center, who studied and played basketball at Stanford, had some nice moves and scored on a spectacular alley hoop following a nice assist by Anthony Beane. Just like Jukic, Sharma quickly had 3 personal fouls in the first quarter and was eventually preserved by Spirou Coach Sam Rotsaert. Khalid Boukichou finished the first quarter in a very strong manner and Spirou Basket remained on top by 9 points after 10 minutes in this match-up: 25-14.

The local team started the second quarter in an efficient way with the very young guard Milan Samardzic showing some great fighting spirit and finishing a fastbreak with an easy lay-up to make 27-14, the largest margin in favor of one of the teams that evening. It got worse for Spirou Charleroi afterwards while young players William Robeyns, Jonas Foerts and Niels Foerts played better and better for the visiting club. Step by step, Phoenix Brussels came back into the game. Domien Loubry and Desonta Bradford also hit nice shots from long range for the visitors. Phoenix’s player William Robeyns hit the second of his two free-throw attempts to reduce the gap at 37-35. Spirou Charleroi’s U.S. duo Anthony Beane and Moses Greenwood had their moment of glory and Serge Crevecoeur had to take a time-out to stop Spirou’s momentum. During that time-out, he got enraged at Andell Cumberbatch. Many observers, including Bert and his son, sitting behind the Brussels Phoenix’s bench noticed that Coach Crevecoeur really got mad at the former small forward from Saint Bonaventure University. The team from the Belgian capital nevertheless ended the second quarter in a positive way and was only behind by the closest margin at the break: 44-43.

The visitors (it has probably been one of the shortest trips for Brussels Basketball on the European scene) with Cumberbatch on the floor began the third quarter with better intentions than their opponents. Domien Loubry and Jonathan Augustin-Fairell also worked hard and the scoreboard showed 44-49 for the guests. Boukichou scored the first Spirou points of the second half after 4’08’’ of play in this period. The local team managed to get back on the right track for a few minutes and even took the lead at 54-52 (on a lay-up by Alexandre Libert). Spirou U.S. playmaker Joe Rahon and his mates then made wrong choices again. They never looked able to really control the game. Josip Jukic, back in action, did much better than in the first quarter and Phoenix Brussels was leading 56-58 after 30 minutes of play.

The team of Coach Crevecoeur displayed some great skills in the last quarter. Jonas Foerts, on fire, made the difference from behind the arc. He was imitated by his young mate William Robeyns and his U.S. pal Desonta Keylon Bradford. Phoenix Brussels took a large advantage at 60-69 and managed to control the game afterwards. Spirou players Alex Libert, Axel Hervelle and Anthony Beane forced shots, chose bad options and could not be efficient. Nice last efforts by Boukichou (he grabbed 11 rebounds in this game) were vain for Spirou Basket and Phoenix Brussels eventually deserved the win: 72-75. A big win for Serge Crevecoeur and his men (by a 3-point margin, just like in the first FIBA Europe Cup leg against Spirou Charleroi played a few weeks before)! The only downside to this basketball game was the rather poor refereeing at this stage of a FIBA competition. Both Belgian teams can still qualify for the next round of the FIBA Europe Cup

Score evolution: 25-14, 44-43, 56-58 and 72-75.
Best scorers:
Spirou: Anthony Beane 15, Moses Greenwood 2, Alexandre Libert 13, Axel Hervelle 9, Milan Samardzic 2, Joeri Schoepen 3, Josh Sharma 4, Joe Rahon 3, Khalid Boukichou 21.
Phoenix: Domien Loubry 10, David Bell 3, William Robeyns 8, Andell Cumberbatch 10, Desonta Bradford 14, Jonas Foerts 17, Josip Jukic 3, Jonathan Augustin-Fairell 10.

Pictures: Bert Larsimont and Belga

Popular posts from this blog

FIBA EuroCup Women: Valencia BC (SPA) has given no hope to Basket Namur Capitale (BEL) at the Hall Octave Henry in Saint-Servais, Belgium on Nov. 25th, 2021

EuroMillions League - Round Six: Proximus Spirou Charleroi defeats BC Telenet Oostende after strong finish in a thrilling Belgian "Clásico"!

NCAA basketball - 2016-17 berthoop.net Men's All-America Team and last review (May 2017)