South Sudan players celebrate after the win over Kenya as Morans walk off the court crest-fallen | Credit: FIBA

The quarterfinal match-up at the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 is complete.

South Sudan secured the last spot in the last eight of the continent’s premier basketball competition after edging Kenya, 60-58, in a nailbiter on Tuesday night.

The game was expected to be explosive and a close contest but it was South Sudan that started with momentum scoring 11 unanswered points before Bush Wamukota connected from beyond the arc to put Kenya on the scoreboard with four minutes to play. The AfroBasket debutants closed out the period leading 20-11.

South Sudan’s offense continued to flourish in the second quarter leading by as many as 18 points as Kenya struggled to get the basketball through the net. The lead was 15 (39-24) at the end of the half.

Mareng Gatkuoth and Kuany Ngor Kuany Credit: FIBA

Kenya Morans started to make some important stops in the third quarter and dug into South Sudan’s lead to trail by 10 points (51-41) going into the fourth quarter.

Albert Odero jump-started the Morans comeback with a pair of 3-pointers in succession followed by a coast-to-coast eurostep lay-up to start the fourth quarter and Kenya were within two points (49-51).

South Sudan were forced into a timeout and on return, Ronald Gombe turned over from an inbound for Kuany Ngor Kuany to lay up but Tylor Ongwae answered with a corner 3.

Mathiang Mauot Muo connected from the top of the mountain but Kenya never really went away and had a chance to win it but Ongwae missed the would-be game-winner at the final buzzer.

Kuany Ngor Kuany scored team-high 14 points to lead South Sudan. Mareng Gatkuoth contributed 10 points while Mauot Muo picked game-high 10 rebounds to go with 9 points.

Alber Odero Credit: FIBA

Odero netted game-high 18 points in a losing effort, Ongwae scored 13 points and matched game-high 10 rebounds while Ariel Okall scored his tournament-high 10 points and picked 8 rebounds that included a ferocious put-back.

South Sudan will now battle defending champions and favourites Tunisia in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

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

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