Israeli basketball national team coach Arik Shivek 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Israel coach Arik Shivek will return home on Tuesday with plenty of food for thought after the national team dropped to a humbling 77-59 defeat to Belgium on Monday night in its third and final warm-up game in Antwerp ahead of next month’s EuroBasket tournament.
The blue-and-white snapped a three-game losing streak with a 78-74 win over Italy on Sunday, but it fell to its fourth defeat in six tune-up games on Monday following yet another erratic display.
Israel got off to an encouraging start, especially on the defensive end. The blue-and-white held Belgium to just 13 points in the first 10 minutes and was ahead by five points (18-13) after one quarter.
However, yet again it struggled for consistency, capitulating in the second quarter and allowing the hosts to surge into the lead.
The Belgians made the most of some soft defending and seized control with a 13-0 run, taking a 41-34 advantage into the break.
Israel closed to within three points (45-42), but the Belgians ended the third period with an 11-2 run, capped by a buzzerbeating three-pointer, to open a 56-44 gap.
Matters only got worse after that, exposing many of Israel’s vulnerabilities just two weeks before the start of the European Championships.
The national team will visit Yad Vashem on Wednesday before playing Georgia twice (August 26 and 28) in its final tune-up games ahead of the EuroBasket tournament in Slovenia.
Israel will face Belgium, as well as France, Germany, Great Britain and Ukraine in Group A.
The top three teams from each group will progress to the second round.
The national team opens its campaign against Great Britain on September 4, before facing Ukraine (September 5), France (September 6), Belgium (September 8) and Germany (September 9).