IPRC-Kigali 95-92 Patriots
Espoir 91-66 UGB
IPRC-KIGALI defied pre-game odds and defeated title hopefuls 95-92 for their first win of the 2017/2018 national basketball league season on Friday night at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
Prior to Friday’s game, Kicukiro-based team had suffered consecutive defeats in the first two games, pulled off a stunning win against the 2016 league winners and reigning Play-off champions.
Albert Buhake’s IPRC-Kigali, led by Burundian Gilbert Nijimbere, started well, winning the first quarter 27-22 and the second 31-18, to go into half-time break leading 58-40.
Patriots returned much-improved for the second half and went very close with a 20-14 third quarter win and 32-23 in the final quarter, but it was not enough to save the day for Henry Mwinuke’s team.
“This is a very important victory for us, especially coming against a strong opponent like Patriots. We believed in ourselves and executed well our game-plan; we absolutely deserved this victory,” Buhake said after the game.
He added that, “We need to draw energy and motivation to build consistency to do even better going forward.”
Nijimbere scored a game high 28 points while Leonard Hitayezu added 15 points for the victors. Former IPRC- Kigali’s duo of forwards Steven Havugintwari (27 points) and Dieudonne Ndizeye (21 points) combined for a total 48 points for the Patriots.
In another game played Friday, four-time league winners Espoir also recorded their maiden win of the season with a well-deserved 91-66 victory over United Generation Basketball (UGB).
The Nyamirambo-based side overcame a slow start with 13-16 first quarter deficit to dominate the game, taking the remaining three quarters; 20-8, 26-17 and 32-25 respectively.
Espoir’s Pascal Niyonkuru scored a game high 25 points and Regis Gatoto added 20 points, while Emile Uwiringiyimana led UGB with 17 points.