FIBA 2019 World cup qualifiers-Africa
Uganda 79-92 Rwanda
The Uganda men’s national basketball team will not take part in the second round of the 2019 World cup qualifiers let alone the tournament proper in China.
This was confirmed on Sunday when the Silver Backs lost 92-79 to East African counter-parts Rwanda in the third game of the second phase of qualifiers in Lagos, Nigeria.
Going into the game against Rwanda, the Silver Backs knew that anything short of a win will see them eliminated as they had also lost to Nigeria and Mali on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Rwanda got the game rolling with a Kenny Gasama lay up inside the first minute but seven seconds later, Robinson Odoch replied instantly with one of his own to tie the game.
It was a tight affair for the next few minutes with both sides trading baskets until Rwanda threatened to pull away when they went on a run of 7-0 at some point to take a 16-8 lead.
At the end of the first quarter, Rwanda was leading 25-23 and the contest that promised to be mouth-watering was living up to expectations.
The second was more like the first with both sides having several exceptional spells but non of them managing to pull away and it was Rwanda who edged it 18-17 with the score board reading 43-40 at half-time.
It was in the third that Rwanda managed to fend off Uganda, first registering the first five points of the quarter then holding a 16 point lead at some point before winning the quarter 27-17.
With only one quarter to play and Rwanda leading 71-57, it was more of damage limitation for the Silver Backs in the fourth.
Darrius Garret made a lay up to increase Rwanda’s to15 lead at the start of the quarter and from there on wards, they had answers to every Ugandan question and managed to see out a 92-79 win and progress to the next round of qualification.
For the Silver Backs, they will fly back into the country with their heads held low after another disappointing show that had build momentum when they finished second in the first phase held in Mali.
Kenny Gassan top scored on the night with 20 points for his side and added six rebounds and two blocks to his impressive display.
Robinson Odoch registered a team high 18 points on a night that the team literally collapsed in the third quarter after starting impressively. John Deng Geu and Jordin Mayes added 14 and 16 points respectively.
Uganda finished bottom of the pile in Group B with 7 points from six games played while Mali and Rwanda joined favorites Nigeria as the three teams that progress to the next round.
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, 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.
Tunisia, Cameroon, Chad, Angola, Egypt Morocco, Senegal, Central African Republic and Ivory Coast are the other teams that made it to the second round
Uganda’s performance at the qualifiers:
First Phase in Mali.
-Uganda 86-102 Nigeria
-Mali 79-76 Uganda
-Uganda 76-63 Rwanda
-Nigeria 109-66 Uganda
-Uganda 80-95 Mali
-Rwanda 92-79 Uganda