03 October, 2023
26 November
23/11/2023
Game Report
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Coulter, Adewunmi shine as COSPN's BAL dream remains alive

 

JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - A clash that determined JBC's fate in the East Division Elite 16 went to the wire as the Zimbabwe champions refused to go home empty-handed, but beating COSPN proved mission impossible.

In their last chance to compete for a place in the Semi-Finals, short-handed JBC led, trailed, and almost denied COSPN, but the latter prevailed 78-73.

Although the Malagasy champions celebrated jubilantly right after the final buzzer, they still needed to wait for the outcome of the game between Ferroviario da Beira and City Oilers to find out if they were through to the Last Four.

Bishop Coulter and Samuel Adewunmi finished with 22 points apiece to help the Madagascar Policemen improve to 2-1 in Group B, a result that might be good enough to keep them in contention for one of the three slots still available for the Semi-Finals. 

Samuel Adewunmi

Tafadzwa Tela came up with a game-high of 23 points, but he needed a lot more support than Saul Phiri's 15 points to keep JBC's Basketball Africa League (BAL)'s dream alive.

TURNING POINT: JBC stepped on the floor knowing that beating COSPN was a must-do task, and the Harare-based climbed mountains despite their rotation's limitation.

JBC and COSPN traded blows for most of the regulation as the 24 lead changes illustrated, but when Samuel Adewunmi finished a fast-break with a thunderous dunk that gave COSPN  a 77-69 lead - their largest advantage in the entire game - with 1.50 minute left, JBC threw the towel in.

Bishop Coulter

HEROE: Their numbers speak for themselves. Coulter and Adewunmi combined for 44 COSPN's points, that's more than half of the team's 78 points. 

But in hindsight, COSPN's team effort spoke louder than any individual performance.

STATS DON'T LIE:  The absence of Noah Penduka and Nyang Wek badly affected JBC whose bench was out-scored 22-4.

In a do-or-die game like this, JBC shot themselves in the foot by making only  7 of their 17 free-throw attempts.

BOTTOM LINE: It's the end of the road for JBC, but the Zimbabwe champions (0-3) return home with their heads held high. They competed despite facing several adversities, and they are happy to have taken some positives from their first-ever Elite 16 appearance. JBC rightly promise to come back better and stronger in 2024.

COSPN, on the other hand, showed that they mean business when it matters most. If they move on to the Last Four, anything is possible from this group of warriors who aim to become the second Malagasy team - since GNBC - to qualify for the BAL.

WHAT THEY SAID: "This match was relatively close. Like I promised from the first day, my boys are going to continue to improving. We took care of the ball much better, but we couldn't defend better...We defended well, but Bishop [Coulter] had a better offense and number 3 [Adewunmi], they were just a better offense. It could have been closer than five points. I thought that it was going to go to a one or two-point game. Today we played much better." 

"Having lost our two starters due to injury it meant that our rotation was not as good as we wanted it to be. We went deeper into the situation we normally do." - Addison Chiware, JBC head coach.

"There is a level of disappointment because all the guys felt that we could have been in this game. It came down to a few plays. [I'm] Grateful because we got better every game. This is a great learning experience for us and we'll be back." - Tafadzwa Tela, JBC forward.

FIBA