Here is our TIB High Five from last weekend.
Disaster struck for Spirou Charleroi after only four minutes when Milan Samardzic, their starting point guard, went down with an ugly knee injury. His absence made Alex Libert feel a bit lonely in the back court but… the Belgian Lion responded in a great way.
In the 3rd quarter, Spirou was down by 13, but within a handful of minutes Alex Libert brought the team back to 73-73 with two triples and four assists. Libert serves as the father figure of the young guns of Spirou Charleroi and loves that role: “I can give back now what I received when I was young. Being able to guide the youngsters gives me a lot of happiness”, Libert declared after the game.
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It was a blow-out win for Ostend against Brussels. The 19 point differential at the end was kind to Brussels as BCO took the foot of the pedal after 27 minutes, holding a very comfortable 71-36 lead.
Young Croatian-Serbian talent Mario Nakic was the architect of Ostend’s victory, scoring 7 of the first 12 and doing that all over again at the start of the second half when he scored 9 of the first 14 points. It was enough to make it an easy night for the Ostend boys. Too easy in fact. Give them some more competition, EMBL-teams!
Was he the MVP of the win against Spirou? I don’t know. Speedy Smith played well, Dudzinski did his job too, but I go for Kesteloot. Kesteloot is Socrates on the court, knowing himself so well that he doesn’t do things he cannot do. We are still waiting to see the Kesteloot we saw a couple of years ago in Ostend, but this Kesteloot and the one who was the top rebounder of the Belgian Lions against the Czech Republic in only 13 minutes is definitely the Vinnie we want to see. Way to go, Slurfke!
Auston Barnes is a basketball savant. He reads the game, he reads the opponent’s defense, in fact, he reads so much, it is said that Barnes once read ‘War and Peace’ as well as ‘Anna Karenina’ during a time-out. If his team needs him inside, he will do the job in the paint, if the team needs his outside shooting he will do that. He had a great share in the all-in-all close win against Limburg: scoring 20 points while shooting 70% from the field, grabbing 5 rebounds and drawing 6 fouls. A box-score so stuffed, Barnes might need a Kindle to read it.
When I was praising him before the game to Sam Rotsaert, his coach toned it down: “Well it’s only two games and we have to see what he will be capable of against a great defender like Dave Dudzinski”. Forty minutes later, Lambrecht had removed any doubts. In an empty Lotto Arena, he gave another masterclass: 6 of 11 from downtown, 11 rebounds and 4 steals. Why wasn’t this possible in Ostend two years ago, why was he only a role player in Leuven last season when he scored just four points per game? Difficult question, simple answer: Sam Rotsaert wasn’t his coach back then.
Maarten Weynants and Joachim Verplancke