Jeffrey Nunes Xiavier and Kenneth Gasana Credit: FIBA

After their opening day overtime win over Angola, Cape Verde proved they were going to be a hard nut to crack at the FIBA AfroBasket 2021.

Four days later, the Islanders are through to the quarterfinals of the tournament after beating hosts Rwanda, 82-74, in their last group game.

The win took Cape Verde, who started the game at the bottom of Group A, to the top and automatically earned them a ticket to the last eight.

Rwanda who finish second in the group will have to go through another filter to make it to the quarterfinals. They will face Guinea on Monday, August 30 at 7:00pm (EAT) for a place in the quarterfinals who finished third in Group B after stunning Egypt.

Kenneth Gasana picks up Jeffrey Nunes Xavier at halfcourt. Gasana had a poor game. Credit: FIBA

Cape Verde had a perfect start and quickly took control of the game thanks to vet  Fidel Mendonça who was perfect from 3-point range to start the game going 5-for-5 as the Islanders won the opening quarter 29-15.

Rwanda never got going as the orchestrators of their offense Kenneth Gasana and William Robeyns struggled throughout the game. Jean Nshobozwa’s speed and energy as well as Emile Kazeneza and Alex Mpoyo’s effort off the bench were not supplemented by the starting unit.

At halftime, Rwanda was in a deep hole of 20 points (26-46) that not even their second-half performance with the backing of the loud crowd inside Kigali Arena, especially the fourth quarter would dig them out.

Joel Almedia and Cape Verde teammates celebrate after beating Rwanda Credit: FIBA

In the end, it was Joel Almeida (16 points), Mendonça (16 points), Walter Tavares (14 points, 14 rebounds), Jeffrey Nunes Xavier (12 points, 6 rebound, 6 assists) who sailed through to the quarters.

Kazeneza (18 points), Mpoyo (14), Nshobozwa (12), and Robeyns (10) scored in double figures for Rwanda.

Jean Jacques Nshobozwa’s speed and energy off the bench was not enough to lift Rwanda over Cape Verde Credit: FIBA

Angola or Egypt to miss Quarterfinals

The continent’s most decorated teams, Angola (11 titles) and Egypt (5), will face off in the other qualifier to the quarterfinals.

Angola needed to win their last group game to reach the playoffs and they saw off the Democratic Republic of Congo, 73-58.

The winner of the tie will face Senegal n the quarterfinal on Wednesday.

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

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