Afrobasket: Rwanda stuns Angola to close in on quarter-finals ticket

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Afrobasket: Rwanda stuns Angola to close in on quarter-finals ticket
Afrobasket: Rwanda stuns Angola to close in on quarter-finals ticket

Africa-Press – . Thursday

Group A

Rwanda 71-68 Angola

Cape Verde 66-70 DR Congo

Group B

Guinea 60-61 CAR

Egypt 81-87 Tunisia

RWANDA stunned continental powerhouse Angola in the 30th African Basketball Championship (Afrobasket) on Thursday evening, beating them 71-68 to stay top of Group A and subsequently edge closer to a spot into the quarter-finals.

It was the hosts’ second win in two games, having won 82-68 over DR Congo on the first day, August 24. The tournament runs through September 5 at Kigali Arena.

FULL TIME: Rwanda🇷🇼 71:68 Angola 🇦🇴

Rwanda make it two wins in two at the #Afrobasket2021. pic.twitter.com/AxjkEJQZNC

From the off whistle, the game against Angola – who are 11-time African champions – was a tight one, but the latter seemed better-positioned for a victory they badly needed to stay in the competition.

After Rwanda grabbed a 7-0 lead inside the opening 40 seconds, Angola, thanks to energetic offensive rebounds and good defense, quickly reorganised to outhustle the home side before the first quarter ended all-square at 20 points apiece.

The Angolans took the second and third quarters 18-15 and 23-20, respectively, going into the decisive period with a 6-point lead. However, Rwanda turned the tables when it mattered the most, fighting back to down Angola 16-7 in the final quarter to maintain a perfect start in the tournament in front of wildly cheering spectators.

WATCH: Jubilation at Kigali Arena after Rwanda beat Angola in the #Afrobasket2021 Championship.

🎥: @nkotanyidamas / TNT pic.twitter.com/lPc1KMRShq

Star shooting guard Kenneth Wilson Gasana starred with a game-high 18 points, while Axel Mpoyo and Prince Ibeh added 10 and 7 points, respectively.

Angola’s Jilson Bango posted 14 points and made 16 rebounds but his double-double could not save his side from a second defeat.

In a post-game interview, Cheikh Sarr, Rwanda’s head coach, lauded his players for perfectly executing his game plan.

“Most of my players are under 27, so for me, I try to educate them as my children and they understand me very well. We deserved to win,” he said.

Gasana, who is making his fifth Afrobasket appearance, appreciated the fans who turned up to support the team, saying they played a big part in the victory.

“We had the fans behind us even when we were trailing. They played a big part in our success tonight. Thank you.”

Rwanda faces Cape Verde on Saturday, while Angola will be up against DR Congo. Group leaders will automatically advance to the round of last eight, while the second and third-ranked teams will go into play-ins to vie for the remaining quarter-final ticket.

After two game rounds in Group A, Rwanda tops the table with a maximum 4 points, followed by Cape Verde and DR Congo with 3 points each, whereas Angola are bottom with 2 points.

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