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Hosts Kenya and South Sudan off to good start
NAIROBI (Kenya) - Hosts Kenya and South Sudan posted century scores in the opening day as the FIBA AfroBasket 2021 Group D Pre-Qualifiers got underway at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.
Kenya 112-64 Eritrea
Favorites Kenya, playing before a rooting crowd blanked the Eritreans 112-64. The host got off their campaign on a bright note taking a 16-4 first quarter cushion after an opening shot by Australia based Desmond Owili.
In the second quarter Victor Bosire and Robert Nyakundi who arrived from France, combined for 20 points as Kenya took a strong 56-22 advantage at the Half-time break.
Kenya played a more purposeful game in the last two quarters as coach Cliff Owuor changed his tactics going man. It was a move that saw them continue to torment Eritrea at will in the third and fourth stanza.
Five Kenyan players posted double figures in scores with Ariel Okal leading the tally with 15 points, Nyakundi nailed 14 while Victor Ochieng posted 13, and Bosire dropped 11.
For the young Eritreans playing in only their first continental assignment at this level, Israel Vulugeta led all scorers with 23 points to his credit while Ilal Abdusela managed another 11.
"We started off badly but picked up well to bag the win which was necessary. But we were poor on defense and will have to improve as the tournament progresses. We can not play like that in the other games," Owuor said.
Eritrea Federation President Henor Amine was an exited man after his boys played their hearts out despite lacking experience at this level.
"I am impressed with their display. They showed remarkable courage and battled hard against the experienced Kenyans. They can only getter from such outings I believe. "
South Sudan 114 vs Somalia 79
South Sudan powered their way inside for most of their points as their opponents preferred to take outside shots but had problems controlling the rebounds.
The winners led 25-17 in the first quarter, and went a notch higher in the second period with a 35-22 advantage. At the breather, they had already built unassailable lead of 60 -39.
After resumption, the Somalis battled hard to narrow the third quarter difference to 26-22 before collapsing again 26-18 in the fourth against their opponents who dictated the tempo.
South Sudan out rebounded Somalia by a whopping 52-28 and drained 11 of their 21 three shots as compared to their opponents 5/24.
Somalia head coach Dahil Abulkadir said:"All my players came from different destinations for this championship and only had one day to train together. Besides, two of them were not cleared to compete in the tournament."