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Flames Foreign Tour Blog Day 5 - Game 4
Day 5 - Three games in three days is rigorous for any team. Add numerous walking tours and a different time zone to the equation and you have a recipe for fatigue. The Liberty men's basketball team was certainly feeling the effects of its international journey on Saturday. As a result, head coach Dale Layer gave the guys the day off, allowing them to relax and rejuvenate before their fourth game.
Tonight's game had special meaning for the people of Brussels, specifically the Flames' opponent, the Brussels All-Stars. The contest was a tribute game in memory of Frederic Mucole, who died in a tragic car crash one year ago on Aug. 13, 2010. Frederic would have been 19 today, as the day of his death was also his 18th birthday.
Frederic played for Royal Exelsior, a basketball club in Brussels. About one year before his death, Frederic accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and was consistently growing in his faith.
In honor of the fallen basketball player, Frederic's older brother, Kandi Mucole, played in tonight's contest as a member of the All-Stars. A native of Brussels, Kandi formerly played basketball at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
As a gesture to the family of Frederic, the Flames signed a white basketball that was presented to the Mucole family prior to the game.
Kandi Mucole (right) helped lead Brussels to victory in tonight's contest, which was a tribute game in memory of his brother Frederic.
Flames Edged in Game Four Against Brussels
Playing its fourth game in four days, the Liberty men's basketball team fell short in exhibition play for the first time since arriving in Brussels, as the Flames were edged by the Brussels All-Stars, 77-76, inside the Palais du Midi, Saturday.
The game served as a tribute to Frederic Mucole, the late brother of Brussels All-Stars and former Howard University player Kandi Mucole.
John Brown paced the Flames with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Jesse Sanders finished with 15 points, six boards and three assists.
The Brussels All-Stars started off strong, hitting two three-pointers in the early minutes. After being down 6-2 to the Belgian team, the Flames answered with a 6-0 run off buckets from Antwan Burrus, Brown and Jesse Sanders to take an 8-6 lead at 5:40 in the opening quarter.
About a minute later, the Flames executed a play that somewhat resembled their SportsCenter Top 10 highlight versus VMI on Jan. 20. Coming down the court, Jesse Sanders lobbed a pass to Brown, who quickly snapped it to Burrus for the two-handed finish. David Minaya followed the play with a traditional three-point play to extend Liberty's lead. Brussels closed the distance to five in the remaining minutes of the period, as the Flames led 19-14.
Minaya opened the second quarter with a three-pointer from the far corner to extend the Flames advantage. Burrus tacked on a layup underneath via a Jesse Sanders' assist to make it 25-14 near the 8:00 mark.
Brown reentered the game about four minutes later, scoring eight points before the end of the half, including a buzzer beating layup to give the Flames a 42-27 halftime lead.
Burrus and Brown paced the Flames in the first half with 10 and nine points, respectively. Through the first 20 minutes, Brown was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, adding seven rebounds to his scoring total.
In the third quarter, Tavares Speaks put his jump shot on display, hitting back-to-back baskets within the first three minutes of the period to maintain the Flames' cushion, 50-36.
Liberty began to pull away in the ensuing minutes, taking a 59-40 lead with just over four minutes left in the period. However, Brussels responded with seven unanswered points to narrow the gap.
Following a Brussels three-pointer, which put the team within eight of the Flames, Jesse Sanders drove to the hoop and connected on an old-fashioned three-pointer to put Liberty back up by 11. Brussels countered with three free throws to make it an eight-point game at the quarter's end, 63-55.
With the Flames holding a seven-point lead in the final 10-minute period, Jesse Sanders nailed a trey from the top of the key to reclaim a double-digit lead for Liberty.
Brussels looked poised to make a late surge, cutting the Liberty lead to four with a fast break layup with five minutes remaining. The Belgian squad later tied the game with a clutch three-pointer and a free throw to make it 74-74 at 2:48.
Brussels took the lead with one minute remaining with another big three-point basket. After Brown cut the lead to one with a free throw, the Liberty defense forced a 10-second violation on Brussels. With the Flames having the last possession, Minaya hurled up a jumper, but the shot fell short, leading to the 77-76 Brussels win.
The Flames will now head to France, where they will play Kaysersberg, Monday at 8 p.m.