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Egypt off to flying start with win over South Sudan in FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Group F Qualifier opener
CAIRO (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) - Hosts Egypt got off to a flying start with an 87-76 win over South Sudan in the FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Group F Qualifier opener on Sunday at the Cairo Stadium, Olympic Center in the Egyptian capital.
Egypt were taken unawares in the first quarter when they faced resilience from a rather determined South Sudan side that were making their debut in the regional tournament. They only trailed by a point at the end of the first period, 17-16, much to the frustration of the home side who did not see that coming.
However, with the leadership of Khalifa Haisham and Abdelhalim Amr, Egypt found their way in the second period and established a nine-point lead at half time.
South Sudan enjoyed the challenge and as they fathomed wearing their national team jersey for the very first time and with a cross-section of them playing in the USA and Australia, playing competitively at the high level only came naturally.
Egypt ran away with the game in the third quarter when they increased their lead to a double-digit lead 63-49 as Amr who eventually dropped a game high 30 points and had the highest efficiency at 32 went on rampage.
Even though South Sudan outscored Egypt 27-24 in the last quarter, the damage had already been done in the third quarter and despite the loss, the former showed their intentions at the tournament – to compete.
Tawfik Ahmed and Elmekawi Mostafa scored 13 and 11 points in that order as Egypt set the ball rolling in a rather tough Group A that also has former regional champions Rwanda and Kenya.
Maker Chier top scored for South Sudan with 20 points and had a joint-top team efficiency of 16 along with Tut Wangang who netted 13 points.
Captain Mao Mathang and Magat Ajak added 12 and 11 points respectively but this was not enough to secure victory for the newcomers.