Ivan Almeida Credit: Don Mugabi

The third window of the FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers got underway at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda with Cape Verde and Nigeria taking the floor first.

The Islanders got the better of West Africans 79-70 thanks to a huge second quarter in which they scored 25 points and allowed only 11 to open a double-digit lead.

After a slow start to the game by both sides, Cape Verde known for their outside shooting had their opening basket from outside the arc from Kennet Mendes. However, neither side dominated as the contest remained close throughout the ten minutes that Nigeria edged 15-14.

Nigeria (2-2) were careless with the ball in the second quarter, committing 8 turnovers. Cape Verde took advantage scoring 13 unanswered points to open an 11-point lead at the half. 

Cape Verde (2-2) maintained their double-digit lead for the most part of the third quarter but DTigers who had flashes of brilliance went into the fourth quarter trailing by 9.

Nigeria slowly but surely crawled back and took the lead (65-64) on Uche Oroegbu free throws. Walter Tavares put Cape Verde back in the lead on the next possession.

Joel Almeida connected from 3 on the break with under 2 minutes to play to give Cape Verde a five-point lead and later added another corner 3 that all but sealed victory for Cape Verde.

Walter Tavares scored game-high 15 points and 13 rebounds, Ivan Almeida filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists while Patric Lima contributed 10 points off the bench for Cape Verde.

Christian Mekowulu had 13 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort. Ikenna Ndugba (13 points, 8 assists), Uche Iroegbu (12 points), and Chimezie Metu 10 points, 10 rebounds) also scored in double figures for Nigeria.

Cape Verde ascend to the top of the group with six points, that are matched by Nigeria in second and Uganda in third.

Next Up

Both teams return to action tomorrow (Saturday) Nigeria plays Mali while Cape Verde will take on Uganda.

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

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