Dech masterminds South Sudan in key win over Egypt
MONASTIR (Tunisia) - South Sudan are now one win from qualifying to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup thanks to an 85-65 win over Egypt on Sunday night in Monastir, Tunisia.
Sunday Dech exemplified South Sudan's determination to keep their World Cup aspirations alive. Dech had a 7 for 13 shooting to lead his team with 18 points and 5 assists. Nuni Omot, Buol Kuol and Anyiarbani Makoi combined for 40 South Sudan points as they improved to 8-1.
Kuol was the biggest difference between sides in the opening quarter thanks to his 2 for 5 three-pointers to lead all scorers with 8 points.
Ehab Amin's game-high 22 points and Assem Marei's 13 points weren't enough to avoid Egypt's second defeat in the African Qualifiers campaign.
Egypt head to the last window of the African Qualifiers in February on 7-2 mark.
TURNING POINT: An intense opening quarter saw Egypt guard Youssef Aboushousha drive to the basket to score the first two points. But it was a short-live lead for Egypt, who were unable to defend Bul Kuol's three-pointer that ignited South Sudan to a 25-14 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
South Sudan led all but 31 seconds of the game.
HERO: Sunday Dech was simply phenomenal. Although he was superb offensively, Dech masterminded his team like real leaders do. He wasa vocal when they team needs it. Even after the final whistle he made sure to keep his team together. He yelled to his teammates to join South Sudans fans who chanted and supported their heroes for most of the three-day competition.
Even team captain Kuany Ngor Kuany praised their fans's sacrifice. "Most of them travelled from Juba to support us. They paid their own tickets to be us. This means a lot to us as a team. I just want to thank them for their support."
STATS DON'T LIE: Egypt's 5 turnovers in the opening quarter resulted mainly from the South Sudan's intense and aggressive defence.
South Sudan's bench provided a huge lift in the second quarter by contributing 11 points. They went to on to lead by as many as 16 points in the period of the game.
As much as Egypt tried to keep Royal Ivey's team at reach, the South Sudanese responded with even more intensity on both ends of the floor, which allowed them to close the half in front 46-34.
South Sudan led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter (25-14).
BOTTOM LINE; Egypt's tenacity and aggressiveness has been key to their successful African Qualifiers campaign so far, but taking on a South Sudan who is as aggressive and can shoot the ball from almost everywhere was impossible to overcome.
It was a tough game for Egypt who saw Anas Mahmoud, one of their most influential players, pick his second foul and being subbed to protect him from foul limits.
The last day of competition in Monastir couldn't have had a better matchup.
THEY SAID: "Credit to South Sudan. They are not just athletic, they can shoot the ball, they can do everything." - Egypt center Anas Mahmoud Ossama.