Saturday, November 27
*Uganda 77-74 Cape Verde
*Ivory Coast Vs Guinea
*Cape Verde Vs Mali
*Central African Republic Vs Angola
*Uganda Vs Nigeria – 10pm
Uganda managed to wobble past Cape Verde despite a lacklustre performance to pick their first win of the ongoing 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in Benguela, Angola.
Late missed free throws nearly cost Uganda but the boys held on down the stretch to outlast Cape Verde in a closely contest match-up.
Brandon Davies, despite leading the way with 27 points, struggled on the line as he missed free throws under pressure.
Robinson Opong, playing his first game after missing Mali opener, shot big threes including a deep one at the stroke of halftime that put Uganda to within a point.
Cape Verde looked to have had a grip on the lead when they opened a 10-point difference at one stage but Silverbacks managed to keep their heads high.
And at one time during a time-out team talk, Coach Mandy Juruni tasked the players to “go out there and compete! You are not showing anything on court!”
It was revenge best served by Uganda against Cape Verde who beat the Silverbacks in the Quarters of Afrobasket two months back in Kigali.
The win seemed impossible at one stage as Uganda struggled at both ends but Cape Verde who beat Nigeria 79-71 in their opener, also failed to hold on.
Uganda picks their first win of the campaign having lost the opener to Mali and will look to end the first window on a high when they face wounded Nigeria.
How Uganda Edged Cape Verde
Both sides struggled to get things going at the start until Tonny Drilleba got Uganda off the mark when he was picked by Jimmy Enabu for an easy lay up with 6:59 on the first quarter.
Davies then hammered down on Joel Almeida and after some exchanges, Uganda were 8-4 going into the first timeout.
But Cape Verde’s quality that saw the side finish fourth at Afrobasket, came to the fore and the side quickly led 14-12 after the first quarter.
And Uganda’s struggles continued with a couple of poor shots and turnovers as Cape Verde stretched their lead to 10 points at midway through the second quarter.
Uganda started to grow into the game, and Opong capped the team’s impressive run with a deep three as the clock faded, 31-32 at halftime.
James Okello showed up and owned the third quarter, scored straight seven points but Uganda remained just a point adrift of Cape Verde after Brandon Davies missed both his attempts on the line including an air ball to close the third quarter, 58-59.
Eric Rwahwire handed Uganda a lead for the first time in the game since the opening exchanges with a long three with just six minutes on the clock.
But Cape Verde continued to take the game at Uganda. The lead started to exchange hands from there on, and later Okello fouled out with three minutes and so seconds.
Uganda could have won comfortably but fluffed a chance to lead by four points down the stretch: Robinson Opong picked Emmanuel Womala who was fouled from inside and sent on the line.
Cape Verde coach contested the call and he was given a technical, but Opong failed to convert, before Womala made one of his two free throws to leave Uganda leading with a two.
Jeffrey Nunes made his Jumper to draw Cape Verde level, 74-74 with a minute on the clock but a couple of turnovers from either side ensued before it ended in Uganda’s favour when Opong found Drileba who laid up uncontested ti hand Uganda a three-point lead.
Shane Da Rosa missed a game equaling three for Cape Verde to spark wild celebrations from Uganda’s bench.