Poland open OQT campaign with convincing win over Angola

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KAUNAS (Lithuania) – Poland opened the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas with a convincing 83-64 victory over Angola.

Mike Taylor’s side set the tone early on in Group B with 10 different players on the scoresheet as they did enough to control the contest against a side that fought until the final buzzer behind 27 points from Yanick Moreira.

Turning point: The warning signs were there early when Poland jumped out to a 13-4 start, though Angola responded  coming out of the timeout and would take their first lead – albeit briefly – of the game at 18-17 on a Pedro Bastos three. However, when the next run from Poland came at the start of the second, this time there was not to be a response and the gap peaked at 24 points.

Game heroes: AJ Slaughter may have been a late arrival with the team, but he showed no signs of early rust with a hot start with 14 of his 16 points in the first half to get his team going. Captain Mateusz Ponitka grew into the game and finished with a game-high 22 points, while Aleksander Balcerowski showcased his versatility.

Stats don’t lie: Angola left points at the free throw line in the first half – going 1-of-8 – to counter their aggressive approach and were also unable to capitalize on their second chance efforts as they battled hard on the boards.

Bottom line: Just the start Poland needed ahead of their expected crunch clash with Slovenia on Thursday as they got an array of scorers on the board. As for Angola, they showed signs of promise in the way they competed, but the situation is now simple: they must win tomorrow or they will be heading home early.

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