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Mali outrun Egypt in Group B’s high-profile game, Senegal and Guinea follow suit

Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗

ANTANANARIVO (Madagascar) – Mali have recovered from their unexpected loss in Gameday 2 against Angola and showed who was the boss in Group B by outrunning Egypt in what is seen as the top-tier clash.

Though the score (46-41) does not reflect the intensity of the game, both teams have given it all on the court.

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Mali had the key to the game and they knew it.

From the start, they locked up their defence. So much so that Egypt found themselves making only 39 percent (19 out of 48) of their shots, while missing all their attempts from behind the arc.

And ironically, their efficiency during the second quarter was equal to 0.

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“We had a plan about it. We came to Madagascar with the aim of winning the title and what happened against Angola has motivated us even more,” says Mali’s head coach Moussa Cisse.

Ahead of the game, he had a talk with his players and gave them specific instructions. “I’m glad they followed every instruction and played the way we play. For instance, our centers had something very specific to do and they fulfilled their mission admirably,” notes the coach.

The game unfolded since the tip-off. And Mali showed their ambitions with a 20-11 run in the first quarter. And then Egypt collapsed in a pointless second quarter, while Mali netted 7 points.

Enough for the West Africans to cruise during the third and fourth quarters, even though the Pharaohs gave it all in an attempt to come back.

But even though they outran Mali in final two quarters, with 30 points for and only 19 against, their efforts were to no avail.

One man, particularly, made it a point to defend his side from the repeated assaults. Forward Mahamadou Diarra, with 16 points, 8 rebounds, one steal and one assist, was the game’s MVP.

Talking to FIBA.basketball after the game, Diarra said it was a question of honour to win this game. “We worked on the defensive aspect of the game, collectively,” he says.

And even though he has bagged one of the most important victories here in Madagascar, he is quick to add that the road to the title is still long and arduous.

“But we’re determined to make it there. For that, we know that we need to to the instructions, be consistent in our effort and be disciplined.”

SENEGAL, GUINEA RECORD FIRST WINS

Earlier in the day, Senegal and Guinea outlasted Algeria (76-59) and Rwanda (64-44) respectively to score their first win in the tournament.

Senegal built up their success around Ousmane Ndiaye, who scored 21 of his side’s 76 points. Algeria, however, did not give up easily as they held on for most of the first part of the game.

But Chakib Sedoud’s 20 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block were not enough to against Senegal’s will and wit.

Guinea also had their first victory as they fended off Rwanda 64-44. The game’s MVP award went to Ibrahima Sanoh who claimed the tournament’s first double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds.


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