Walter Tavares and John Deng Geu contest a jump ball at tip-off Credit: FIBA

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

Cape Verde held on to beat Uganda’s Silverbacks 79-71 on Thursday night to qualify for the semifinals.

The 2007 third-place finishers join Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Tunisia in the last four where they face defending champions Tunisia on Saturday.

Cape Verde started the game with a couple of 3-pointers from Jeffrey Nunes Xavier and Joel Almeida. The Islanders took the lead to 8 points early but the Silverbacks never fell far behind with the quarter ending 24-20.

Adam Seiko and Eric Rwahwirwe started the second quarter connecting from deep and Uganda took the lead, 26-24. The rest of the period remained a close contest until late when Cape Verde scored 7 unanswered points in the final three minutes to go into the break leading 43-35.

Ivan Almeida and Fidel Mendonca opened the third quarter from beyond the arc and Cape Verde’s lead was into double figures quickly ballooning to 15 points (53-38). Arthur Kaluma kept the Silverbacks in the contest with a pair of 3-pointers.

Arthur Kaluma Credit: FIBA

Kieran Zziwa hit three free throws, Ishmail Wainright added a lay-up and the lead was cut down to single-digit. With Silverbacks trailing 51-57, Tony Drileba took too long to make the inbound pass turning over the ball and Xavier hit the three that took Cape Verde’s lead to 10 points (61-51) going into the fourth.

Sekouba Condé hit a pair of throws to start the fourth quarter but Adam Seiko responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Silverbacks within six points (59-63) forcing Cape Verde into a timeout. On return, Mendonca hit a 3-pointer and Wainright had the answer at the other end, Kaluma added another and the lead was down to 3.

Walter Tavares Credit: FIBA

Despite trying their best to keep Tavares away from the basket, the 7’3″ center troubled the Silverbacks down the stretch and proved to be the difference. The big man scored game-high 23 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

Joel Almeida (17 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists) and Xavier (16 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists) hit some big shots for Cape Verde.

Kaluma played his best offensive game at the tournament, scoring team-high 21 points. Wainright had 13 points while Seiko scored 9.

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

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