• South Sudan 70-75 Nigeria
  • Rwanda 51-76 Mali

Nigeria sealed qualification to the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 with a hard-fought 75-70 win over a resilient South Sudan side on Wednesday at Mohamed-Mzali Sports Hall in Monastir, Tunisia.

With victory, the 2015 African champions improved their Group D record to 4-0 while South Sudan dropped to 2-2 but maintained second place in the group.

Nigeria led by as many as 14 points in the first half but a strong start to third quarter by South Sudan made the game a real contest.

South Sudan’s Nuni Omot drives to the basket during the game against Nigeria | Credit: FIBA

Trailing by 9 at the end of the penultimate quarter, South Sudan put on an 8-0 run to start the fourth to close the gap with Nuni Omot leading the charge and took the lead with just under four minutes to play.

However, Ike Iroegbu and Obi Emegano hit three big three-pointers to help D’Tigers hold off South Sudan in the final two minutes of the game.

“Every game presents its own different challenges. Today was a tough challenge because we haven’t had very much practice time,” Nigeria captain Ike Diogu admitted in the aftermath of the game.

Obi Emegano (11) hit two huge 3-pointers late in the game to power Nigeria to the win over South Sudan | Credit: FIBA

Iroegbu and Emegano finished with 16 and 15 points respectively while Omot poured in game-high 27 points in a losing effort. Dut Jok Kacuol also scored in double figures for South Sudan with 10 points.

In their other Group D game, Mali beat final tournament hosts Rwanda 76-51 to improve their record to 2-2.

Tip-off between Rwanda and Mali | Credit: FIBA

It was Mali’s second win over Rwanda in the qualifiers who dropped to 4-0.

Nianta Diarra (12), Boubacar Fadiala Sidibe (11), Sadio Doucouré (11), Mahamadou Kante (10) and Drake Reed (10) all scored in double figure in Mali’s team victory while Prince Chinenye Ibeh (10 points) was the only Rwandan player to reach double-figures.

There is no time to rest for the teams as action continues today with Rwanda taking on Nigeria at 4pm (EAT) while Mali will square with South Sudan at 7pm (EAT).

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

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