Leuven Bears must make up the thirteen-point gap in the semi-final of the Belgian Cup: “We continue to believe in our mission”

Leuven Bears had a two-faced match in the first leg of the semi-final of the Belgian Cup. A missed start (22-5) was almost completely wiped away after a 46-35 deficit halfway through the third quarter. With three-pointers from Tyreke Key, Leuven found the connection in the third slide at 54-51. At that moment it kept its chances for the return on Sunday afternoon. In the final quarter, the Leuven team did not score for four minutes and Limburg took advantage to move to 67-51. Thibault Vanderhaegen and his teammates were on the ropes at 75-55. In the final phase, Leuven softened to 77-64. “It is important that we continue with this recovery,” coach Eddy Casteels reflects.

Brussels resident Maxime De Zeeuw, who made a nice comeback at Limburg after two months of injury, is wary of Leuven Bears. “We must start the return with the necessary focus. Leuven is an offensively strong team. We were able to limit them today, but things can happen quickly in their own room. We must use the same defense,” says De Zeeuw. Coach Eddy Casteels remains extremely ambitious. “We have a mission and in this double cup meeting the first part has only been contested. In our Sportoase we must first look for a strong start. If we do that, anything is possible. I thought my team played strong at times. We still lack cohesion, but that makes sense with a new team in combination with many injuries,” said Casteels.

Codi Riley (on the ball) made a successful comeback. Here Riley keeps Maxime De Zeeuw talking. — © Belgian

Be in class

At Leuven, Codi Riley made a successful return after six weeks of inactivity. In 32 minutes he was good for 15 points and 8 rebounds. If his shot selection is a little better on Sunday afternoon and Tyreke Key hits a new series of three-pointers, a lot is possible for Leuven. Especially if Thibault Vanderhaegen scores another nice double-double and the rest of the Leuven selection is alert both offensively and defensively. “With the support of our fans, we will look for qualification for the cup final,” said Thibault Vanderhaegen.

If Leuven can still eliminate Limburg in the return, it will play the final of the Belgian Cup in Vorst Nationaal on Sunday, March 10, against the winner of the Kangaroos Mechelen – Spirou Charleroi match. The Hainaut team won the first leg 67-88 in Mechelen.

Limburg United – Leuven Bears: 77-64

Quartz: 23-11, 23-23, 12-17, 19-13.

Limburg United: Lesuisse 7, Cale 22, Penn 4, Osunniyi 2, Delalieux 13, De Zeeuw 8, Serron 6, Hammonds 11, Van Ounsem 2, Leemans 2

Leuven Bears: Bucumi 0, Key 20, Davis 12, Tate 9, Vanderhaegen 4, Huurman 2, T. Nunes 0, R. Nunes 0, Riley 15, Meeusen 4

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