West African nation duo of Nigeria and Mali has clinched wins on the opening day of the final round of qualification games to the 2021 African Nations Basketball Championship (AfroBasket).
Both nations compete in Group D with games being played in Monastir, Tunisia; the final window of games is scheduled to end on February 21 with fixtures in Groups B and C to be hosted in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Nigeria survived a scare to top South Sudan 75-70 in the first game of the day with Sudan Guard Nuni Omot leading all players with 27 points.
However, Jok Kacoul was the only South Sudan player aside Omot to score in double figures; Jok had 10 points, six rebounds and an assist for Luol Deng’s men.
Like Sudan, Nigeria had just two players score in double figures with Ike Iroegbu and Obi Emegano scoring 16 and 15 points respectively in the contest. Veterans Ike Diogu and Ben Uzoh added eight and five points apiece.
Mali had little trouble getting past Rwanda with the former walking away with a 76-51 win thanks to a well rounded team effort that had two starters and three players from the bench score in double figures.
Diarra Nianta pumped in 12 points to lead all players in scoring.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter