The AfroBasket 2013 championship game is set for Sunday with perennial participants Angola squaring off against Egypt. Angola qualified for the title game with a 66:59 victory over host club Cote d’Ivoire. Egypt moves on to the final game with a 70:63 win over Senegal.
Both clubs also qualify for the FIBA 2014 World Cup, as will the winner of the bronze medal game between Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.
Egypt – Senegal, 70:63
Egypt returns to the AfroBasket finals for the first time since 1993 after beating Senegal 70:63 in their semifinal contest on Friday. The win completes a complete reversal of fortune for the Egyptians after a 0-3 trip through the preliminaries, then a 3-0 record in the playoffs to make the finals. They’ll square off against Angola, on Sunday for the title, but by qualifying for the finals they also qualify for the FIBA 2014 World Cup.
Egypt got a huge game from Assem Marei, who turned in a 22P/17R double-double. He shot 9 of 10 from inside the arc and hauled in 7 offensive rebounds during the contest.
The Egyptians opened the first frame with a 6:0 run, only to have Senegal counter and knot the score at 7. Marei picked up his eighth point with four minutes to play, putting Egypt up 11:7. The last three shots made in the quarter were triples, a pair by the Egyptians and one by Senegal, closing off scoring at 20:15 in favor of Egypt.
Both clubs had trouble hitting the cords in the second, with Senegal getting a slight edge in the frame, outscoring Egypt 9:8 to start the mid-game break with Egypt up 28:24.
The points flowed more freely in the third, with Senegal picking off another point from their deficit, but before that, Egypt built an 11-point lead, 39:28, only to have Senegal counter with 11 unanswered to tie the score at 39. Wael Khedr knocked down a three-pointer at the horn to give Egypt a three-point lead, 42:39, heading into the fourth.
Egypt hit the first five of the fourth frame, to get up eight, 47:39. Their advantage grew to 12, 59:47, with two minutes to play. Maleye Ndoye hit two triples for Senegal in thirty seconds to help cut the gap slightly. Egypt was 13 of 18 from the line scoring their only points from the strip over the last two minutes of the game. Senegal wasn’t able to close the margin any further, giving Egypt a trip to the finals as well as a spot in the World Cup in 2014.
Marei was game-high for Egypt with 22 points, Khedr added 16. Ndoye led the way for Senegal with 12.
Angola – Cote d’Ivoire, 66:59
Angola makes their eighth straight AfroBasket finals appearance and 14th out of the last 16 competitions dating back to 1983, with a 66:59 win over host club Cote d’Ivoire.
Angola was led by 13 each from Reggie Moore and Carlos Morais. Cote d’Ivoire got a game-high 15 from Mamadou Lamizana and 11 from Souleyman Diabate.
Angola got the early lead with a 23:10 first quarter. The hosts hit their last field goal at the seven minute mark and could only manage free throws the rest of the frame.
The drought from the floor continued for Cote d’Ivoire for four minutes into the second, then went on a 16:2 run to pull even at 28. Angola scored the next five, then the locals scored the final eight in the half to send the teams to their dressing rooms with Cote d’Ivoire up 36:33 at the break.
Angola scored the first seven of the half to retake the lead, 40:36. The clubs exchanged baskets until the final minute when Angola scored the final five points of the quarter to push their advantage to eight points, 54:46.
After Lamizana completed a three-point play with eight and a half minutes left to play, neither team scored for over four minutes. Angola broke the drought at the 4:35 point and ran off eight straight to build a 14-point advantage, 63:49. Cote d’Ivoire outscored Angola 10:3 to close out the contest, but came up short, sending Angola back to the finals along with earning a spot in the World Cup.
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