The Belgians won 20-18, after extra time, against the United States. After beating Slovenia (21-16) and Egypt (21-12) on Tuesday, Belgium (FIBA 4) faced the Americans (FIBA 5), who also had a record of 2 wins and no losses.
Nick Celis, Thibaut Vervoort, Maxime Depuydt and Bryan De Valck initially dominated the first minutes of play but the United States came back in the game and could have won but Vervoort, with a shot from distance, equalized in the final seconds (18-18) to force overtime.
It was this same Vervoort, the game’s leading scorer with 8 points, who gave the Lions the victory on the free throw line after suffering a foul on a new shot from behind the arc. He managed both, allowing Belgium to win and be ideally placed before their last group match, Thursday evening against Austria (FIBA 13).
Indeed, a victory would allow Belgium to finish first in group D and therefore go directly to the quarter-finals. The teams ranked 2nd and 3rd will play the round of 16.
The round of 16 and quarter-finals are scheduled for Saturday. Semi-finals and finals for bronze and gold will follow on Sunday. The ladies’ final will start at 8:55 p.m., the men’s at 9:30 p.m.
Among the women, the Cats punctuated their first day on Wednesday with two wins in two matches, against Mongolia (12-8) and Egypt (19-6). The Belgians are second in their group C and are now guaranteed to finish at least in 3rd place, synonymous with the round of 16. The Cats 3×3 will therefore only play one match on Friday at 5:30 p.m., against Poland (N.3), decisive for the first place in the group.