In a well-filled Lotto Arena, including Red Devil Jan Vertonghen in the stands, Telenet Giants Antwerp made a successful start in the Elite Gold. The Sinjoren won after an exciting match against Groningen and therefore remain at the top of the ranking. Immediately a big boost towards the final of the Cup of Belgium next week March 12 in Vorst Nationaal and against Ostend. “Groningen never gave up. Fortunately, we always had a good reaction,” said star Desonta Bradford (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists).
Telenet Giants Antwerp was up against Groningen, with American Vernon Taylor (ex-Kangarooes Willebroek) and assistant and Belgian Kevin Verhulst (ex-Okapi Aalst) among others, not under the market. The Sinjoren dominated the first quarter, first scoring through Desonta Bradford and Spencer Butterfield, but also saw Quinten Smout unpack with two bombs in the first slide. The Sinjoren therefore had a deserved 27-20 bonus after the first quarter after 12-7. Groningen was constantly chasing, only had five players who scored in the first, but kept pushing. Clay Mounce and Andrej Magdevski therefore ensure a 45-39 deficit for Groningen after 37-26.
Telenet Giants Antwerp had understood the message and came out of the dressing room very sharply. Jean-Marc Mwema dropped several three-pointers, Thijs De Ridder was energetic again and after a captivating third quarter (25-16) it went from 54-48 to a maximum 70-52 Antwerp bonus. The team from Antwerp started the last period with a 70-55 win, already had the win in their sights, but completely lost their momentum. Loss of the ball, loss of concentration and especially a few minutes of poor defense ensured a solid “Dutch” remonte. Leon Williams unpacked with bombs and was one of the driving forces behind Groningen’s comeback. From 70-66, the score evolved after 78-69 and a 10-28 intermediate sprint to an 80-80 intermediate score. Telenet Giants Antwerp faltered, but Spencer Butterfield fired two bombs in a row at the right time. The American forward secured victory in money-time.
Telenet Giants Antwerp: Anderson 5, Smout 6, Bradford 18, D’Espallier 4, De Ridder 4, Marinkovic 7, Rogiers 7, Butterfield 14, Mwema 15, Upshaw 8 .
Groningen: Taylor 7, Williams 12 Hollanders 3, Magdevski15 , Gaddefors 11, Brandwijk 10, Zakis 8, Mounce 15.