Morocco on Saturday night made history by beating former African champions Angola for the first time in 37 years.
Even though Soufiane Kourodu and Mustapha Khalfi – two key members of the Moroccan team – spent most of the contest on the bench, Morocco denied Angola 60-53 to improve their FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Group B mark to 2-0.
Morocco power forward Najah Abderrahim led all scorers with 18 points, Adil El Makssoud added 14 points off the bench and Morocco head to Sunday’s final Group Phase game with a tremendous morale booster and a pass to the Quarter-Finals.
Reggie Moore, the only Angolan to score in double digits, finished with 13 points as they dropped to 1-1 before facing a ferocious Central African Republic (CAF).
“We watched Angola play against Uganda on Friday, we saw their struggles and we all agreed that we could beat them, and we did that,” El Makssoud later told FIBA.basketball.
Facing elimination from Group B, Uganda stepped on the floor searching for their first win in the tournament, however CAF had other plans in mind.
Max Kouguere came up with a performance for the ages, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds igniting CAF to a 57-54 triumph.
The last time Egypt and Senegal met, the North Africans celebrated a pass to the FIBA AfroBasket 2013 Final in Abidjan, but on Saturday it was a complete domination from the Senegalese.
Inspired by a rowdy crowd, Senegal led from start to finish winning 87-52.
While Gorgui Dieng, Hamady Ndiaye and Co outclassed Egypt on the floor, Senegal fans made the party in the stands.
Dieng and Cheikh Mbodj led the Senegalese offense with 14 points apiece, while Ibrahim El Gammal and Ahmed Bakr finished with eight points each for Egypt.
As a result of their second straight win, Senegal improved their Group D record to 2-0 and secured a place in the Quarter-Finals in Tunisia while Egypt are now 1-1.
In the first game of the day in Dakar, Mozambique improved their Group D record to 1-1 thanks to a 67-61 triumph over neighbors South Africa, who conceded their second defeat in as many games.
In Tunis Group C, hosts Tunisia captain Makram Ben Romdhane contributed 15 points and 13 rebounds, Mohamed Hadidane finished with a game-high 20 points as they secured a place in the Quarter-Finals thanks to a 78-60 victory over Rwanda.
Although Mario Palma’s team outclassed Rwanda, they couldn’t hide their struggles with the ball handling, turning it over twenty times.
Olivier Shyaka led Rwanda with a team-best 17 point but the East Africans dropped their record to 1-1.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Cameroon bounced back from their Group C defeat against Tunisia in the opening day with a comprehensive 96-54 victory over Guinea.
Cameroon forward Benoit Mbala led the proceedings with game-highs 24 points and six rebounds as they improved their chances of reaching the last eight.
In the process, Guinea dropped to 0-2 before taking on Tunisia on Sunday.
In Group A, former African champions Cote d’Ivoire were nothing like the team that almost upset Nigeria on Friday night.
The ‘Elephants’ led by two points earlier in the contest, however, the Democratic Republic of Congo responded with an aggressive defense to win 81-60.
While Eric Tape and Fode Traore combined for 29 Cote d’Ivoire points, the game belonged to Congo, who had four players with at least 11 points or more.
Myck Kabongo led the Congolese with 16 points and six assists as they won their first FIBA AfroBasket game since August 23, 2007, when they beat Liberia.
The reigning champions Nigeria secured their second straight victory as they beat Mali 90-67.
Although Ibrahim Djambo spent the entire game on the floor to finish with a game-high 24 points, Nigeria guard Ikechukwu Nwamu converted six of his nine three-pointers attempts to go with a team-high 22 points.