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High-flying Cameroon send statement on Day-1 of AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers
YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - Hosts Cameroon outclassed Equatorial and Cote d'Ivoire saw off Guinea on Day 1 of Group C of the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers in Yaounde.
In the first game of the day, the 'Elephants' of Cote d'Ivoire dispatched Guinea 58-50 despite a slow start to the game that saw Guinea take a 29-28 lead in the third quarter.
The contest was marked by excessive individual plays although Cote d'Ivoire showed a relatively more organised team effort.
Deon Thompson, who led Cote d'Ivoire in scoring at last year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in China, kept his best for last to finish with a team-best 16 points. His teammate Seydou Hima took care of the boards, finishing with a game-high 10 rebounds while Guinea's shooting guard Cedric Mansare led all scorers with 17 points.
Even though Guinea struggled to score, they did a terrific job defending the paint with Mohamed Queta recording four of Guinea's seven block shots.
Later in the day, ruthless Cameroon showed no mercy, trouncing short-handed Equatorial Guinea 90-58.
Even though the Guineans outscored Cameroon 22-12 in the third quarter, Cameroon's victory was never under threat as dominated it from start to finish.
Benoit Mbala (Cameroon)
Four Cameroonians scored eleven points each in a game that they led by as many as 36 points, outshined Guinea with an impressive ball movement (17-8 in assists) and more importantly Cameroon won the rebounding battle 44-30.
With only eight players available for the tournament, Equatorial Guinea's bench contributed 12 points against Cameroon's 48.
Guinean shooting guard Kingsley Obiekwe Sam finished with a game-high 15 points.
Equatorial Guinea forward Sebastian Mbansogo paid tribute to his colleagues. “It’s difficult when you ave been preparing for weeks, we come here and we can not use the full team. It's tough to be in the position we are now, but I am proud of my teammates," he told a post-match press conference.
Group C's action resumes on Saturday with Cote d'Ivoire taking on Equatorial Guinea while Cameroon face Guinea.