City Oilers started their journey back to the Basketball Africa League with a hard-fought 81-76 win over COSPN at Ellis Park Arena on Tuesday.
The Ugandan champions needed a huge second half to pick victory in a game they fell behind by double digits at the halftime interval.
It was an open game to start with both teams finding the basket at ease but the Madagascar side edged the first quarter 21-18.
However, Oilers caught a cold in the second quarter failing to clean the defensive glass, giving COSPN easy second-chance opportunities and also missed a couple of layups. The outcome of the scrappy second quarter was a 12-point (41-29) deficit at halftime.
Mandy Juruni’s charges started the third quarter with a 7-0 run and the contest was back on track. With 4:40 to play, the Oilers were in the lead, 46-45, as the 3-point shot started falling and defence improved ten-fold.
Oilers led by five points early in the fourth quarter but COSPN never fell behind any further as Elly Randriamampionona (12 points) kept the Madagascar side in the contest including hitting a transition 3-pointer to tie the game at 76 with under 30 second to play.
Parrish Petty would hit a clutch jumper from the line that was follwed by a pair of throws to ice the game. Petty finished with 16 points and 5 assists.
Dane Miller filled the stat sheet with 26 points, 9 rebounds aand 5 assists to pace City Oilers. Robin Opong (16 points) and Germain Roebuck (12 points and 8 rebounds) aalso scored in double figures.
Michael Coulter Bishop had a double-double performance of 16 points and 12 rebounds for COSPN in a losing effort. Samuel Adewunmi (12 points) and reached doube digit scoring Anthony Nelson Severin Rasolomanana.
City Oilers take on JBC of Zimbabwe on Wednesday and Ferroviario da Beira on Thursday in pursuit of a spot in the semifinals.