Group A, Tuesday
Ivory Coast 64-47 Algeria
Egypt 70-72 Senegal
Group B, Wednesday
Rwanda 80-61 Burkina Faso
Group C, Tuesday
Angola 75-50 Cape Verde
Central Africa 66-70 Mozambique
THE Rwandan men’s basketball team got off to a bright start at the 2013 Fiba Afrobasket championships with an 80-61 victory against debutants Burkina Faso in their Group B opening match yesterday at Palaise de Sport Treichvile Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The first quarter ended with both teams tied 17-17 before the West Africans took the lead 38-32 by half time.
But Moise Mutokambali’s boys recovered to win the third and fourth quarters despite the Burkinabe’s impressive efforts.
Kami Kabangu’s sterling performance ensured the third period ended 54-47 in favour of Rwanda while Kenny Gasana, Pascal Twagirayezu and Hamza Ruhezamihigo all scored crucial points for the winners.
Kabangu was the top scorer for Rwanda with 24 points while Gasana and Cameron netted 22 and 19 points each.
Moussa Quattara and Jean Paul Bayala were Burkina Faso’s top scorers with 10 points each.
The victory will have given Rwanda much needed boost ahead of games against much tougher opponents in their quest for a slot at the 2014 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
The national team takes on Morocco on Friday. Morocco was due to face 2011 champions and favourites Tunisia last night.
Elsewhere, Senegal, featuring an intimidating pair of former NBA stars, scrapped a 72-70 victory against Group A opponents Egypt.
Ibrahima Mbengue won it for Senegal with a second to go.
Hosts Cote d’Ivoire coasted to a 64-47 victory over Algeria in their first game of round-robin play.
Angola took a 25-8 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, routing Cape Verde 75-50 while Mozambique beat Central Africa Republic 70-66 in Group C.
The first of three round-robin games of all the four groups was played before the 16-team knockout tournament begins next Monday.
No team will be eliminated in the group stage but seeding will be decided based on win-loss records throughout the rest of the week.