03 October, 2023
26 November
Game Report
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City Oilers survive COSPN scare for first win in Johannesburg 


JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - Nine-time Ugandan champions City Oilers basketball needed to step up for an 81-76 win in a dramatic match-up against Club Omnisport de La Police Nationale (COSPN) of Madagascar.

The match was the third of the day and the second for group B in the ongoing 2024 East Division Elite 16 staged at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg.

The first quarter was a Dane Miller-show as he scored 12 of City Oilers' 18 points but his solo effort was not enough to silence COSPN who had Samuel Adewunmi and Bishop Coulter, who came off the bench, scoring 7 each to help their side lead 20-18 in the first quarter.

Miller, a two-time BAL participant with Guinea's SLAC, gave the Ugandan champions the lead in the opening minute of the second quarter at 21-20 but their stay at the helm was short-lived, Marco with Rakotovao dropping a three-pointer to get COSPN ahead at 23-21 and further at 30-25 in the opening 5 minutes of the second period. 

Dane Miller

The Julien Chaignot-led policemen went on a 9-point scoring streak to lead 39-25 with 1.15 minutes to the break and there was little Oilers could do as far as responding goes, heading to the locker rooms trailing 41-29. 

Germaine Roebuck Jr. stepped on the free-throw line, 15 seconds into the third quarter, converting his two chances to get Oiler's comeback underway. 

The Mandy Juruni-led side ate into COSPN's advantage, coming to within 5 points at 41-36 with more than seven minutes of action left in the third quarter.

Robinson Opong went on the line for 3, converting 2 and for 45-43, moments later dropping a trey that handed the Ugandan champions the lead at 46-45 with 4.20 to play. The see-saw continued but it was Oilers who carried a one-point advantage to the final stanza at 58-57 with a Miller dunk sealing the deal.

A dramatic final quarter saw COSPN level the store at 76 with 30 seconds to play.

 Elly Randriamampionona

TURNING POINT: Going 29-16 ahead in the third quarter made all the difference for coach Juruni's Oilers as it brought them back into the match that was seemingly slipping away. With a fighting chance against a relentless COSPN, the Ugandan champions went 23-19 in the final stanza for the hard-fought win. 

HERO: Miller Jr carried the day for Oilers with an efficiency of 28 off of 26 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists that powered his side past COSPN. 

STATS DON'T LIE: The Malagasy representatives were done hard, even at the tail end of the match, by their turnovers as Oilers scored 26 against 16 from turnovers in the crunch clash. The two sides went toe-to-toe in the other main areas.

The highly-contested game between City Oilers and COSPN registered 14 lead changes

BOTTOM LINE: City Oilers are out to make a back-to-back appearance in the BAL and this win goes a long way in helping their course. However, tougher opposition awaits ahead and they have to be at their best to be on the podium. COSPN, on the other hand, have shown they have what it takes and still have a chance with two more matches to play in the group stage. 

WHAT THEY SAID: "When an underdog pushes a team as experienced as Oilers are, such things can happen. We did not have the right attitude in the third quarter and we allowed them back into the match and we were punished for it.  We regroup and come back stronger in the next match." -  Julien Chaignot, head coach COSPN. 

"We had a poor start, credit to COSPN who brought the game to us and remained competitive. We had not played as a unit in a competitive match ahead of this competition and we were in trouble in the first half as we tried to adjust. 

"We came into the second half more aggressive and while we won the match, I am confident we can play better. We have now found our rhythm and that should reflect in coming matches." Mandy Juruni- City Oilers head coach.