AfroBasket 2013: Angola back on top of the podium

Angola captured their 11th trophy in 24 years with a 57:40 win over Egypt in the AfroBasket 2013 championships game played Saturday. Angola returns to the top spot on the podium after losing in the finals to Tunisia in AfroBasket 2011 and winning the title for six straight times prior to 2011.

The first two spots in the FIBA 2014 World Cup go to Angola and Egypt, with the third and final spot being given to Senegal, after they defeated the host club, Cote d’Ivoire, 57:56 in the bronze medal game.

Angola – Egypt, 57:40
No team in African basketball history has been more dominate than Angola over the last 30 years and they came to Cote d’Ivoire to prove that to be true. With a solid 57:40 win over Egypt, Angola takes their rightful place on the top of the podium once again and will now set their sites on the FIBA 2014 World Cup.

Egypt’s run to the finals and qualifying for the Cup comes after a less than auspicious start to the tournament, having lost three straight in group play, before running off three straight wins to earn a spot in the title game.

Angola was led in the finals by Carlos Morais’ 21 points and 8 rebounds. While Egypt got 15 from Sheriff Abdalla, who is a key reason Egypt has fared so well the last few games. In first four games of the series Morais scored a total of 20 points, while in the last three contests he’s connected on 48. Mostly absent for Egypt in the finals was Assem Marei who has been putting up big numbers for the Egyptians, but only managed 7 points and 8 rebounds during the title matchup.

The first 10 saw multiple lead changes, with Egypt getting up 13:12.

Midway through the second quarter, Angola ran off six unanswered to get up 23:17 and from there they wouldn’t trail again in the contest. Heading into the dressing rooms at the break Angola held the advantage with a 28:21 lead.

Angola put the game away early in the third frame with a 14:0 run to take the score from 28:23, to 42:23 with 2:45 remaining in the period. Abdalla’s five points late in the quarter were the first points Egypt would score in the second half. Heading into the final frame, the Angolans were up 46:28 with the only the final 10 remaining to be played.

Egypt tallied the first five of the fourth, but Angola countered with points of their own to keep their advantage. Scoring droughts of three minutes and a minute and a half during the final quarter didn’t help Egypt’s cause, but did offer Angola a way to run the clock out on their 11th AfroBasket title in 24 competitions.

Senegal – Cote d’Ivoire, 57:56
A rare four-point play in the final seconds of the Bronze medal game, was the difference in Senegal now preparing for the FIBA 2014 World Cup and the host team from Cote d’Ivoire sitting back and wondering how things slipped through their fingertips in the final two contests.

Cote d’Ivoire took an early 16:9 advantage, but then gave up a 10:0 run during the second frame to find themselves down 32:24 at the mid-game break.

The third frame helped get the locals back on track as they outscored Senegal 19:11, to knot the score at 43 with 10 minutes left to play.

Senegal got five unanswered to go up 51:47, but a late seven point run by Cote d’Ivoire should have locked things up as they held a 56:53 advantage with 28 seconds to play. Mamadou Ndoye got an assist from brother Maleye and knocked down a triple with 12 seconds on the clock. As he released the shot he was fouled by Mamadou Lamizana. Senegal’s Mamadou stepped to the charity stripe with the World Cup on the line and coolly dropped in the free throw to complete the four-point play and give Senegal a one-point lead, 57:56. with 12 seconds on the clock the hosts had plenty of time to put something together, but Lamizana’s luck continued and he missed the jumper, giving Senegal the win.

Mohamed Diop paced Senegal with 11, while Issife Soumahoro was game-high for Cote d’Ivoire.

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