NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – The national men’s basketball team Kenya Morans kept their hunt for a slot at next year’s FIBA Afrobasket Championship alive after winning their second consecutive pre-qualification match, beating Tanzania 95-59 at the Nyayo Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Having beaten Eritrea 112-64 in their first game on Tuesday, Wednesday’s victory kept Kenya on the hunt and are only second in the five-team table to South Sudan on points difference.
Skipper Griffin Ligare led from the front, picking a game high 21 points in the victory for the Morans with compatriot Eric Mutoro who turns out for the Kenya Defense Forces picking 15 points.
Ligare also had five assists, two steals and two rebounds to aid in the victory. Tanzania’s highest scorer was Erick Lugora who had 20 points.
“It was important for us to give a good performance today and I am pleased with my teammates because we put in a very good show. It was tough because Tanzania are slightly experienced but at least as a team we are picking up momentum,” Ligare told Capital Sport.
Head coach Cliff Owuor was equally pleased with the performance, but says his team cannot sleep just yet.
“We had a better performance compared to the game against Eritrea. We did most of the things right and our passing was better. Tanzania is an experienced side in this competition because they have always been there and it was harder playing against them,” the tactician stated.
The Morans started in emphatic fashion and led the Tanzanians by 20 unanswered points in the first quarter with Ligare hitting two three pointers as Victor Bosire sunk one. Faheem Juma put the game to a break with a good point in the paint at the buzzer, Morans comfortably going to the break.
They continued with the same form in the second quarter to lead 44-16 at half time.
However, they could not sustain the pressure of the Kenyan side who led 72-43 at the third quarter and finishing off 92-59 with Rwanda based Mike Makiadi throwing in a three pointer at the death.
Kenya managed 21 points from turnovers while they scored 46 in the paint and 29 on the fast break. Ligare, Mutoro and Ariel Okall played the most minutes for the Morans in the tie.
On Thursday, the Kenyans will take on winless Somalia in their third match.
South Sudan lead the standings after picking their second century and over victory with a 111-57 thrashing of Eritrea. Burundi meanwhile played their first match, beating Somalia 106-86.
On Thursday, Eritrea play Tanzania at 2pm, South Sudan face Burundi at 4:15pm before Kenya and Somalia bring the house down at 6:30pm.