Rwanda Men’s Basketball team sailed to a perfect start in the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup – African Qualifiers following a 82-72 win over Mali in Lagos, Nigeria.
The team managed by Serbian coach Vladimir Bosnjak is hunting for a ticket to second round of the qualifiers following an unconvincing performance in the first window that was staged in Bamako, Mali in February this year.
Rwanda is placed in Group B alongside hosts and favourite winners Nigeria and regional rivals Uganda.
On Friday night, Rwanda through the excellent performances of Darrius Garret, Kenneth Gasana and Eric Kaje registered a comfortable start with a 10-point lead over the Malian side.
The Rwandan outfit started poorly losing the first quarter 14-25 then improved to draw the second quarter 19-19, lost the third quarter 12-14 before taking home the last quarter 27-24 to win 82-72.
Kenneth Gasana scored a total 23 points while Ibrahim Djambo was Mali’s top scorer with 16 points respectively.
Rwanda will be in action again on Saturday night (21h30) when they face hosts Nigeria. Nigeria thumped Uganda 109-66 in Friday’s opening game before climaxing their campaign on July 1 when they will take on Uganda.
The top three teams from each of the four groups will progress to the second round, where the 12 teams will be divided in two groups (E and F) of six teams each.
During the first window, Rwanda finished at the bottom of the four-team table with four points, level on points as first-runners up Uganda and third-placed Mali.
FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers
Group A (Rades, Tunisia)
Cameroon 73 -72 Chad
Group B (Lagos, Nigeria)
Mali 72 – 82 Rwanda
Nigeria 109-66 Uganda
Group C (Cairo, Egypt)
Morocco 61- 47 Angola
Egypt 63-77 DR Congo
Group D (Dakar, Senegal)
Cote d’Ivoire 62-45 Mozambique
CAR 82-91 Senegal
Team P W/L +/- PTS
Nigeria 3 3/0 94 292/198
Rwanda 4 2/2 -57 272/329
Mali 4 1/3 -34 280/314
Uganda 3 1/2 -3 241/244