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Nigeria too strong for Uganda in World cup qualifiers

Uganda lost to Nigeria on Friday in their first game(File Photo)

FIBA 2019 World cup qualifiers 

Nigeria 109-66 Uganda

Lagos, Nigeria

Friday, 29-06-2018

The Uganda men’s national basketball team, the Silver Backs got off to the worst possible start at the second phase of the first round of the 2019 FIBA World cup qualifiers in Lagos-Nigeria going down 66-109 to the hosts.

Inspired by a rowdy and inspiring home crowd, and led by team captain Ike Diogu, Nigeria led 51-35 at the break, and never looked back.

Diogu finished with a game-high 24 points, while Uganda’s new recruit Jordin Mayes hit two of his seven three-pointer attempts to lead the East African with 18 points.

Diogu got the crowd roaring as early as the sixth second of the game with a long three off a Bryant Mbamalu assist.

Seconds later, Uganda’s Robinson Odoch answered with a three of his own to tie the game at 3-3.

Nigeria threatened to pull away after 19 year old Jordan Nwora threw down a lay up to make it 11-11 with 4:56 on the clock but Jordan Mayes who top scored for Uganda in the first quarter kept on replying to keep his side’s hopes high.

Nigeria went on a run of 10-0 in the last two minutes to win the quarter 30-21 with Diogu shooting 2/2 outside the ‘D’.

Braxton Obugueze got the second rolling with a layup inside the first minute as Nigeria went on rampage, scoring the first 13 points of the quarter and extending their lead to 22 with the score-board reading 43-21.

Uganda finally got onto the score board when Mayes converted a long three with 5:13 to play.

The Silver Backs cut the lead to 16 at halftime but Nigeria now new it was their game to lose as the scores read 51-35 in favour of the West Africans.

Nigeria never looked back from there, winning the third 30-17 and giving a chance for their star players including Diogu to seat out the quarter.

Despite most of Nigeria’s bench being on the court for the final quarter, Uganda failed to capitalize as they lost it 28-14 and the game 109-66.

After Rwanda defeating Mali 82-72 in the other group B game, it means that Uganda are now occupying the elimination spot with two games to play.

The Silver Backs take on Mali at the same venue on Saturday evening and will be hoping to get a positive result and also try to better there points difference as it may come into play after the final game against Rwanda on Sunday.

Uganda has two more games left before the end of the first round (file photo)

With the result, Nigeria increased their FIBA Basketball World Cup aspirations by becoming the first team to advance to the 12-team Second-Round.

And, in the process, Nigeria extended their African Qualifiers winning streak to 4-0 with two games remaining.

Sixteen African nations are competing this week across four cities (Cairo, Dakar, Lagos, and Tunisia) for the ultimate goal of securing the five tickets on offer for Africa for the 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

In the second round, the top three teams from each group will be placed in a group with three other top teams.

All results from the first qualification round, except for results against teams that don’t advance, are carried over to the second round.

Games will be played in September 2018, November 2018 and February 2019. The top two teams in each group along with the better placed third team will qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup proper.

Group B standings:

  1. Nigeria    8pts
  2. Mali        6pts
  3. Uganda   5pts
  4. Rwanda  5pts

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