Belgium's basketball team, the Belgian Lions, have been eliminated from the Basketball European Championships after losing to Slovenia, 88-72, in the round of 16 of the Basketball Euros on Saturday in Berlin.
Fourth in group A, the Belgian Lions could not overcome a Slovenian team led by the NBA All-Star, Luka Doncic (35 pts). Belgium collapsed at the end of the match despite an exemplary collective performance until the fourth quarter.
Belgium did not let their opponent escape in the first quarter of the game, although an unsporting foul at the end of the period allowed Slovenia to take a 5-point lead (24-19).
In the second quarter, the Slovenians widened the gap to +10 before a 14-5 Lions run which allowed them to return to the locker room within reach of Doncic's team, who by that point had notched up 16 points (44- 41).
The Slovenian playmaker assumed his leading role with 12 points in the third quarter, but the Lions held on and tied the game to stay in contact (63-60).
At the start of the last quarter, Belgium even briefly went ahead for the first time (63-64). However, it was the moment the Slovenians chose to take control of the game with crucial baskets and a devastating 17-0 run.
Almost five minutes without scoring proved fatal to the Lions who finally collapsed after delivering an exemplary encounter. The solid performance led by Manu Lecomte (16 points) and Pierre-Antoine Gillet (15 points, 10 rebounds) was buried by the Slovenian team and its leader Luka Doncic (35 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists).
Eventually defeated 88-72, the Belgians equaled their 2015 result by leaving the competition at the stage of the round of 16.
Slovenia will face the winner of the match between Ukraine and Poland, scheduled for Sunday, in the quarter-finals on Wednesday 14 September.
Belgium leave the competition having won a historic upset against the basketball world champions Spain.