Freshmen Jordan Ratliff and Samuel Patel scored 21 and 18 points, respectively, to lead VMI past Fellows Ekeren, 84-78 Sunday in Brussels, Belgium in the first game of an eight-day summer European trip.
“Overall I'm really pleased with the effort and how hard we played together,” said head coach Dan Earl. “It took a while for us to become accustomed to some of the different basketball rules in Europe. We had something like eight walks called in Europe. The ball has to be dropped before the first step.”
The Keydets also received scoring contributions from junior Austin Vereen (14 points) and sophomore Keith Smith (9 points).
“The second half we really started playing well,” added Earl. “Guys were driving and attacking the basket which led to us getting fouled and getting to the line. Overall, I'm really pleased with the effort and how hard we played together. They (Fellows Ekeren) were really physical and experienced. Most of their players range from 25-30 years old.”
Earl was able to call on the entire squad during the game employing substitutions at a high pace. “It was nice to get everyone in. We had 13 players play between 7-25 minutes. It was a little difficult to create the rotations, but it was a great experience for all of them. Our next two opponents will be even better and a greater challenge.”
The Keydets will next take in a day of cultural and historical sites in France before preparing for their next game Tuesday against Gent Hawks in Belgium.
“Tomorrow (Monday) we will head to Paris, which everyone is really looking forward to.”