03 October, 2023
26 November
Game Report
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Bangui stun star-studded Benghazi to book first-ever BAL ticket


YAOUNDE (Cameroon) – Central Africa Republic champions, Bangui Sporting Club on Saturday night booked their first-ever Basketball Africa League (BAL) ticket thanks to an 87-85 win over a star-studded Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya.

Benghazi led by as many as 12 points early in the game. However, Ganapamo’s three-point gave Bangui their first lead (46-44) in the first half, but it was a short-lived advantage as Benghazi used an 8-0 run to close the half with a 52-46 advantage.

Zachary Lofton vs Rolly Fula

The first half was marked by the high numbers of 3-pt made: 6-for-15 for Benghazi against 7-for-19 for Bangui.

Roly Fula and Ganapamo led the Liz Mills-coached side with 10 and 11 points each h before the break.

Crawford, who opened the score line with a 3-pt and Sofian Hamad, led Benghazi with 15 and 13 points respectively in the opening half.

Eventually, Bangui adjusted defensively, allowing Benghazi to make 1 of 14 three-point attempts while they made six more in the second half to claim the club's most important win the Elite 16 Qualifiers history.

Al Ahly’s Sofian Hamad came up with 20 points, 7 rebounds off the bench while giving out 2 assists. He was complimented by Marcus Crawford whose efficiency was 21 scoring 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists while Solo Diabate was at 14 efficiency and 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.

Bangui Sporting Club has become first Central African Republic club to qualify for the Basketball Africa League

TURNING POINT: After trailing for most of the game, Bangui seized an opportunity later in the fourth quarter and never looked back. It all started when Omega Ngaifa brought the game to a 83-83 draw with 1.48 minute left on the clock. 

Youngster Yasser Kamayangue gave Bangui an 85-83 lead with a 1.20 left, but Benghazi could only regret their poor free-throw shooting when they needed them most. Both Zachary Lofton and Souleyman Diabate missed one of two free-throws they were award, leaving the score at 85-85 with 13 seconds left.

Then, substitute Kamayangue found Max Kouguere wide open for the game winning basket when the clock showed six seconds remaining. 

And although Diabate had a chance to win the game with a three-point shot, the Ivorian international missed it before the final buzzer sounded.

18-year-old Yasser Kamayangue provided another key contribution off the bench for Bangui

HEROES: Yasser Kamayangue was again the hero of the night as he provided the assist that saw Max Kouguere make the winning basket. Kamayengue scored 16 points but credit must also go to Rolly Nganga who came off the bench to contribute valuable 18 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

STATS DON'T LIE: Bangui Sporting Club's bench outscored Benghazi's 41-22. On the day that would seal Benghazi's pass to the BAL, making free-throws was a problem for the Libyan champions as they made only 13 of 23 of their attempts from the charity stripe. Ater Majok who dominated the paint with 12 rebounds finished 0-for-4 from the free-throw line.

BOTOOM LINE: Bangui seem to have learned from their previous mistakes and applied their lesson to stun a favorite Benghazi side. Resilience and self-belief were key to the Central African Republic champions who will play in the BAL for the very first time while Benghazi will have a second to make in to the BAL in Sunday's Third-Place Game against the loser of the game between FUS Rabat and FAP.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It was important for us to stay close during the game. We knew they have the stars but they play them for 38 minutes maximum every game. It was the last quarter that we had a good go at them knowing that their four stars had tired out. It is great that we finally made it to BAL after trying last year." - Jimmy Djimrabaye of Bangui SC.

"We didn’t fix our mistakes but it’s not over for us as we hope to do better and take our chance in reaching BAL Season 4.” – Sofian Hamad of Al Ahly Benghazi.