Nigeria and Senegal, two of the title favorites, started their campaigns with authority at FIBA AfroBasket 2021 on Wednesday.
In the only Group D match – following the withdrawal of Cameroon – Senegal established the biggest victory gap of the first two days of the tournament by dominating Uganda 93-55, thus doing better than Tunisia against Guinea (82 -46).
During the 2015 edition in Tunisia, Senegal had already clearly beaten Uganda (79-48).
Gorgui Dieng was exemplary in making his presence felt on both sides of the pitch. He finished the game with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
FC Barcelona product Brancou Badio reminded everyone why his future in the Senegalese selection is very promising, signing a 3-on-5 with three points to end the match with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Ugandan Ishmail Wainright was very discreet, leaving it to Adam Seiko, author of 12 points and the only Ugandan player with 10 points or more, to lead the charge in attack.
Uganda coach George Galanopoulos admits: “We weren’t well prepared. I failed to make the necessary adjustments during the match. Offensively, we did not circulate the ball well. 17 assists and 24 lost balls are not the numbers we want. He said.
The score at the end of the Nigeria vs Mali meeting (81-73) does not really reflect the physiognomy of the game, as the former African champions flew over the debates for most of the time.
The team’s nickname “D’Tigers” led by 22 points and controlled the game from start to finish.
For a team that has only worked with 8 players during their preparation for FIBA AfroBasket 2021, setting the new three-point shot in one game record further reaffirms its full attacking potential.
Benjamin Emelogu (Nigeria)
Benjamin Anyahukeya Emelogu converted 6 of 10 long-range downs, while Uzodinma Utomi posted a 5-on-10 to help Nigeria put up 18 three-pointers scored.
In view of the recent history between these two teams (Nigeria has a record of 6-0 in direct confrontations against Mali since FIBA AfroBasket 2013), the Malians could have done better. However, they only showed signs of revolt in the last four minutes of the game, when the outcome of the match was already sealed.
With this victory, Nigeria share the lead of Group C with Côte d’Ivoire, who had to raise their level of play in the last quarter to finally win 88-70 against a daring and combative Kenya team.
Matt Costello (Ivory Coast)
Even if Kenya was behind a dozen points early in the game, the “Morans” managed to pick up the score at half-time (39-39), enough to send back to the locker room of the Ivorian “Elephants” thoughtful, having to find a way to get rid of the resistance of Kenya, less well ranked and which is the first appearance at the continental tournament in almost three decades.
Former NBA player Matt Costello had a great start for Côte d’Ivoire with 20 points and 8 rebounds, while three other Ivorians – including 41-year-old Stéphane Konaté – scored 11 or more points each .
“The Ivory Coast put a lot of pressure on us and we could not manage it. We lost 20 balls, which was decisive for the outcome of the game,” said Tylor Ongwae, top scorer of the match with 25 points.
The only Kenyan over 9 points continued: “I played well, but it doesn’t matter if we lose the game. I think my teammates will react and we will gain confidence. ”
In the post-match conference, Kenya coach Liz Mills seemed frustrated: “In fact, I don’t think Côte d’Ivoire beat us, we fought on our own. We were in the game for 35 minutes. She declares.