Samuel Kalwanyi Credit: FIBA

2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

Saturday Result

  • Uganda 80-95 Mali

Sunday Fixture

  • Rwanda vs. Uganda – 8:00 pm, EAT
[/media-credit] Samuel Kalwanyi and Ibrahim Djambo contest the jump ball Credit: FIBA

Uganda’s chances of playing in the second round of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers hang on a thread following Silverbacks 95-80 defeat to Mali at the National Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.

After falling terribly to Nigeria on Friday, the Silverbacks had to beat Mali to put themselves in the qualification bracket and they succumbed to the West Africans leaving the chance of qualification at the edge.

Despite having five players in double figures, Silverbacks were let down by their poor perimeter defense gifting the Malians with wide open 3-point opportunities, a range from which they connected 11-of-26.

Uganda struggled to match the big and aggressive Mali and fell behind 18-15 after the opening ten minutes.

However, George Galanopoulos charges looked better in the second quarter with improved ball movement and were locked in on defense. They out scored their opponents 21-16 to take a slim 36-34 lead into the long break.

Jordin Mayes scored game high 18 points for Uganda

Turning Point

At the start of the third, John Deng Geu coughed up the ball and big man Nianta Diarra drew Mali level with a lay-up. Mahamadou Kante hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and Mali did not trail again.

Silverbacks committed an unfathomable six turnovers in the third quarter as Mali exploded for 34 points to pull away for good.

Jordin Mayes and Robinson Opong scored team high 18 points apiece to lead Uganda, John Deng Geu notched a 13 points and 12 rebounds double-double while Emmanuel Mugenga and Jimmy Enabu chipped in with 11 points apiece.

[/media-credit] John Deng Geu had another solid game Credit: FIBA

Mahamadou Kante netted game-high 21 points to pace Mali,  Nianta Diarra came in handy with 17 points while Ibrahim Djambo and Ibrahim Saounera contributed 14 points apiece.

Victory for Mali sealed them a place in the second round joining already qualified Nigeria that has won all their five group games thus far.

Uganda takes on Rwanda tonight in a game whose winner will join the other two at the second round of the qualifiers.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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