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Nigeria, Senegal power on in Afrobasket

Defending champions Nigeria powered into the Afrobasket semifinals following a 106-91 victory over Cameroon on Thursday.

They will be joined by Morocco (who defeated Egypt 66-62), Tunisia (81-60 over DR Congo) and favourites Senegal, who knocked out 11-time champions Angola 66-57.

Ike Diogu of Nigeria EPA/JORGE ZAPATA
The Nigerian charge to the semifinals was led by former Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors forward Ike Diogu. Injuries prevented him from playing any part in the 2015 triumph, although he was on the roster. Diogu averaged 22.3ppg at the group stage and led his team with 28 points, adding nine rebounds in the victory over Cameroon.

Ikechukwu Nwamu added 25 points and seven assists, and Brian Mbamalu scored 22 points. Daniel Ochefu of Washington Wizards, the only active NBA player on the Nigeria roster, had a relatively quiet offensive game. He scored eight points, but led the team with 10 boards.

Benoit Mbala, a graduate of the Luc Mbah A Moute basketball academy in Yaounde, and an alumni of the 2011 Basketball Without Borders camp in Johannesburg, led Cameroon with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Felix Bogmis added 25 points and Arnaud Adala Moto added 20 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.

The absence of Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri meant the leadership of hosts Tunisia fell on the shoulders of Makram Ben Romdhane. He is the only player currently averaging a double-double, having tallied 13.7ppg and 10.7rpg during the group phase.

He was again the leading man for the hosts as they routed DR Congo in the quarters, scoring 22 points and adding 14 boards. Evariste Shonganya led Congo with 19 points and nine rebounds.

The other heavyweight match-up between Angola and Senegal saw the West Africans put up a superb third quarter display, turning a three-point half-time deficit into a six-point third quarter lead.

Three Senegalese players scored double figures, including former Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks forward Maurice Ndour, who managed 10 points. Gorgui Deng of the Minnesota Timberwolves had a quiet night with nine points and eight rebounds after averaging 14.7ppg at the group stage.

Morocco will now face Tunisia in the first semifinal on Friday, while Nigeria will take on Senegal. Both games will be played in Tunis.

Author: Akinbode Oguntuyi, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/20709082/nigeria-senegal-power-afrobasket

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