Basketball: Nigeria Wins Their First Ever Men’s AfroBasket

Nigeria was able to secure its first African title at the 2015 Men’s AfroBasket. The winner of the 16 team tournament was given a spot to the Olympics. The AfroBasket tournament was held in Rades, Tunisia from August 19th to August 30th 2015.

While no nation is eliminated in the group stage bracket placement is still considered to be important. In Group A Tunisia was able to defeat Nigeria 70-59 in a battle between two of the best teams in the region. Defending champion Angola was shocked in Group B action where a strong fourth quarter comeback gave Senegal the slim 74-73 win. Group C went as expected as Egypt topped the group with little difficulty. Group D showed a possible emergence of a dark horse as Cape Verde topped the group, defeating Ivory Coast and Algeria in the process.

The dark horse tag however wasn’t meant to be as Cape Verde was defeated in the upset of the round by losing in the round of 16 77-67 to Gabon who had yet to win a match. The round of 16 almost played hosts to massive upsets to favorites as Angola was able to squeak a 62-61 win over the Central African Republic while Tunisia required overtime to defeat Morocco 69-68.

The quarterfinals went mostly as expected as Tunisia, Senegal and Nigeria all defeated Mali, Algeria and Gabon respectively, but the match of the round was always going to be Egypt vs. Angola, the repeat of 2013’s final. Despite having a relatively poor performance over the entire tournament Angola finally reached its potential and was never really threatened as they went to win 83-63.

The semi-final match between Senegal and Nigeria was a seesaw event which saw both nations taking multiple leads. A late push by Senegal tied the match and forced overtime. Nigeria however was able to take over overtime to win the match 88-79 and to advance to the final. The other semi-final match between Tunisia and Angola was a very defensive match where few opportunities for either side were available. However, it was Angola that held the lead for almost the entire match and won the low scoring match 58-51.

The final was initially a close encounter, but Nigeria took over the second quarter and by half-time was leading 37-24. Angola was unable to make serious cuts into Nigeria’s lead until towards the end of the match and by then it was too late as Nigeria won its first African men’s championship title by a score of 74-65. Tunisia took the bronze medal by defeating Senegal 82-73.

This will be Nigeria’s second participation in a row at the Olympics as they also qualified to the 2012 Olympics. All is not over for Angola, Tunisia and Senegal as all three teams qualified to the final Olympic qualification tournaments to be held just before the Olympics.

Tournament Rankings

  1. Nigeria
  2. Angola
  3. Tunisia
  4. Senegal
  5. Egypt
  6. Algeria
  7. Mali
  8. Gabon
  9. Cameroon
  10. Cape Verde
  11. Mozambique
  12. Ivory Coast
  13. Morocco
  14. Central African Republic
  15. Uganda
  16. Zimbabwe

References

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