AfroBasket 2013 tips off in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

AfroBasket 2013 tipped off on Tuesday with four games to start the African qualifier for the FIBA World Cup 2014. The top three teams will advance to Spain 2014 from Abidjan. The competition will run through Saturday, 31 August, with the Championship and Bronze medal games being held. The first day contests were attended by a sell-out crowd

AfroBasket 2013If Day 1 is any indication of what African hoops fans are in for, the rest of the tournament is going to be must see. In the opening contest, Senegal stole a win from Egypt with a buzzer beater to take Game 1 in Group A, 72:70. Mozambique picked up their first ever win in AfroBasket competition over Central African Republic (CAF), 70:66. Host club Cote d’Ivoire put away a scrappy Algeria, 64:47. Angola pounded Cape Verde, 70:50, with four players turning in double-digit performances.

On Wednesday, the other half of the first round of games will be played with Group B’s Rwanda taking on Burkina Faso and Tunisia squaring off against Morocco. In Group D Cameroon will meet the Republic of Congo and Nigeria will face Mali.

Group A
Senegal – Egypt, 72:70
Senegal put together a lead that peaked at 16, but Egypt held strong and put together an impressive run in the fourth quarter that brought them from down by 12 with just over three minutes to play, to knotting the score with six seconds remaining. Fortunately for Senegal, Ibrahima Mbengue took the ball to the paint with less than one second to play to prevent the contest from entering an extra 5.

Senegal controlled the game from the outset, getting up 18:16 after the first 10 and then taking a 41:32 advantage into the halftime break. Egypt managed to take the lead late in the second frame, getting up 31:30 with just under three minutes to play in the half, but then allowed the Senegal crew to go on an 11:1 run to close out the first 20 with a nine-point lead.

Egypt fell further behind in the third 10, getting down by as much as 15, before picking up a pair of free throws as time expired to cut the lead to 13 heading into the final frame.

The clubs exchanged baskets for the first seven minutes of the fourth, before the Egyptians went on a 15:3 run to knot the score at 70 with six seconds to play. Mbengue’s last second shot sealed the win in the first contest of the AfroBasket 2013.

Cote d’Ivoire – Algeria, 64:47
The hosts picked up a big win in front of a sell-out crowd to take the early lead in Group A with a 17-point victory over Algeria. The Algerians put together a solid middle two quarters, but couldn’t sustain the effort in the first and fourth quarters.

Cote d’Ivoire outscored Algeria 10:2 in the last six minutes of the first quarter to get up by eight, 16:8, after the first 10. The clubs exchange mini-scoring runs in the second with the hosts getting by as many as 12 and the visitors pulling to within four. At the horn, Cote d’Ivoire stood firm with a 30:21 advantage heading into the dressing room.

The second half started with a repeat of the second quarter, with the home club extending their lead to 12, but then letting Algeria back in the contest by cutting the gap to four. At the end of the third the lead had grow to seven, 45:38, with the Ivory Coast up.

Algeria made a game of it in the fourth, slicing the margin to three, 50:47, with 3:43 to play, but the hosts put a lid on the quests’ basket and ran off 14 unanswered to close out the contest with a 64:47 win.

Group C
Mozambique – Central African Republic, 70:66
Mozambique used the strength of their play in the third quarter to win their first-ever AfroBasket competition over Central African Republic (CAF), 70:66.

The game started out well for Mozambique, getting up 8:5 with just over minutes to play in the first, but that would be the last time they would put the ball in the hoop with CAF running off the next 12 unanswered to build a 17:8 advantage after the first 10.

Central got the first points in the new quarter by connecting with a pair of singles to push their lead to 11. Mozambique got off the scoreless streak with a jumper, but then let CAF get up by 17. At the end of the half Mozambique knocked down the final five of the half to cut the lead to 12, 39:27.

By the mid-point of the third, Mozambique had taken the lead, 44:43, representing 17:4 scoring run that wasn’t finished. By the time CAF scored again, Mozambique had a five-point lead, 48:43 with just over three minutes to play in the frame. Their lead peaked at eight, 53:45, before Central reeled them in, still holding on to a four-point margin, 48:44, heading into the fourth.

CAF slowly chipped away at the lead and took the advantage for themselves with just over three minutes to play, 63:62. Mozambique took the lead back a minute later, CAF tied it at 64 with a free throw, the Mozambique hit the next five consecutive to get up 69:64. The final minute was light as each club could only manage three free throws between them, giving Mozambique the win, 70:66.

Angola – Cape Verde, 75:50
Angola got their AfroBasket 2013 campaign off to a solid start with a 25-point rout of Cape Verde, 75:50. Cape Verde outscored Angola in the second and fourth quarters, but Angola put up 15 and 18 on their opponents in the first and third to set the tone for Group C.

The first eight points went to Angola before CV would register a basket. By the time the final horn sounded on the quarter Angola held a 25:10 advantage. Cape Verde cut their deficit to eight during the second frame, but found themselves down 10, 38:28, heading into the break.

Angola put the game away in the third, running off a 28:10 score and getting up by 28 by the end of the frame, 66:38. Cape Verde got three back in the fourth, but was no match for Angola and found themselves on the end of a 75:50 score to open their AfroBasket 2013 tournament.

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