Tunisia outlast Morocco to book ticket for Final against Nigeria
TUNIS (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Tunisia forward Mohamed Hadidane on Friday came up with a performance for the ages as they beat Morocco 60-52 and set up a FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Final against Nigeria who beat Senegal 76-71.
Hadidane scored 15 of his game-high 22 points from behind the arc, grabbed six rebounds, and as a result Tunisia - who organized the tournament in 1987 and 2015 - reached the African Championship Final for the first time as hosts.
"We stepped on the floor knowing that Morocco were a tough opposition, and made their game plan as much difficult as possible," Hadidane later explained to FIBA.basketball.
With the win, Mario Palma became the first head coach to qualify for the tournament Final for the fifth straight time.
The Portuguese-Angolan play-caller led Angola to four continental titles from 1999 to 2005.
"Tunisia were hungrier than us to win the game," Morocco guard Ali Lahrichi said. "We did everything we could, but they were the better team.
"We have to move on and get ready for tomorrow's game [against Senegal]".
Meanwhile, in the most anticipated game of the day, defending champions Nigeria ended Senegal's four-game winning streak to be in a position of defending their 2015 title.
Nigeria captain Ike Diogu ignited the D'Tigers at both ends of the floor, finishing with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
And although Senegal shared the ball better than Nigeria, they were far too sloppy turning the ball over 19 times.
The best player in AfroBasket 2017. Ike Diogu. Without a doubt. pic.twitter.com/xzzorDlZIS— Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) September 15, 2017
"We played hard for forty minutes. All the guys from 2015 team have been cheering us on, and give us information. We know this is a massive win," said Diogu, who watched Nigeria's FIBA AfroBasket 2015 coronation from the sidelines after suffering a leg injury just days before the start of the competition.