03 October, 2023
26 November
Game Report
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Igowe leads Espoir Basket in improbable win over Bangui


YAOUNDE (Cameroon) - An astonishing start to the Road to BAL for Espoir Basket Club meant a disastrous Group B opener for Bangui Sporting Club on Sunday in Yaounde, Cameroon.

The Gabonese champions stepped on the Palais des Sports de Yaounde as underdogs, but they never looked like it as they outscored a star-studded Bangui Sporting 73-69.

Herman Boukosso Igowe came up with a performance for the ages, delivering what seemed an improbable win against a team that featured some household names on the continent.

Lerry Essono

Igowed paced Espoir Basket Club with 20 points and 8 rebounds and his teammate Lerry Essono led the way with a game-high 21 points.

The Libreville-base side opened their Road to BAL campaign with a clear sense of urgency, making Bangui Sporting look helpless, especially when they hit a 27-point lead (51-24) late in the second quarter.

Bangui Sporting returned from the locker room transformed and prepared to bounce back.

Liz Mills' charges protected the perimeter line a lot better than they did in the first half; Bangui scored 21 points from Espoir's 17 turnovers in the second half, but the 27-point damage proved costly to the Central African Republic's champions.

Espoir Basket Club opened their Road to BAL campaign with a hard-fought win over Bangui Sporting Club

The second half of the game was marked by two major events:

- Bangui's 16-2 run (53-43) and a full-court press, which gave Mills' team hope. And things looked promising for Bangui when Espoir Basket's all-around star Essono limped off the floor with a leg discomfort although he returned in the fourth quarter.

- The second major event in the second half was Espoir Basket's 8-0 response to regain control of the game.

In the decisive fourth quarter, Bangui remained patient and kept capitalising from Espoir's sloppy plays on both ends of the floor.

When Rolly Fula found Bijan Johnson wide open to hit a three-point that brought the game to a single digit gap (64-55) midway through the third quarter it was a short-lived hope of turnings things around for Bangui Sporting.

Jimmy Djimrabaye, who opened the scoreline (2-0) that gave Bangui Sporting their only lead of the game, finished with seven points while Rolly Fula led his team with 18 points.

Espoir Basket's 7 offensive rebounds in the first half played a big part in the win

Australian Alex Higgins-Titsha came up with some impressive moves in the paint, but his 13 points and 7 rebounds did little to help to Bangui Sporting win the game.

The Michael Oganda Igoue-coached team knew far too well that wasting such a glorious opportunity of boosting their Elite 16 dream would be an unforgivable mistake, and they made sure to regain composure to close the game out. 

At the end of the day, the biggest difference between Espoir Basket Club and Bangui Sporting Club was the former's 9-for-15 three-pointers made in the first half.