RADES (AfroBasket 2015) – AfroBasket 2015 hosts Tunisia became the fourth team to advance to the Quarter-Finals on Tuesday, but they needed the protection of the Basketball Gods in order to overcome Morocco, 69-68, after overtime.
Mourad El Mabrouk played the crucial role in rescuing Tunisia from an imminent elimination as he hit a three-pointer with four seconds remaining to send the hosts through to the Quarter-Finals where they will face Mali on Thursday.
Although the team’s leading scorer, Salah Mejri, appeared to be experiencing knee pain, he also played a key role after denying a potential game-winning lay-up from Morocco’s Abdelhakim Zouita with four seconds left to play in regulation.
In the opening game of the Round of 16, Egypt secured their place among the Last Eight thanks to a comprehensive 102-62 victory over Zimbabwe.
Point guard Ehab Amin had a game-high 18 points to lead five Egypt players in double digits.
Vitalis Chikoko was the only Zimbabwean to score in double figures with 17 points.
Egypt became the first team to score over 100 points in the tournament and also registered the biggest margin of victory to date.
The 2013 Finalists led for all but 27 seconds of the contest, and outplayed the tournament debutants in all aspects of the game.
Egypt, who won all their four games, will take on Angola, who beat the Central African Republic (CAF) 62-61.
The Angolans avoide what could be the biggest upset of the tournament so far.
Yanick Moreira, who finished with team-highs of 16 points and 7 rebounds, hit a hook shot to give his team the lead with 4.7 seconds remaining, and CAF were unable to respond.
After conceding a heartbreaking defeat to Senegal on Monday, the Angolans stepped onto the floor prepared to get over the upset and move on in the competition. But for some reason, they struggled throughout to get away from a very combative CAF side.
Even though CAF made at times questionable decisions, the Angolans could not slow down Max Kouguere, who led all scorers with 23 points.
The win saw Angola improve to 3-1.
In the third game of the day, Mali put on an inspiring performance, beating Cote d’Ivoire 76-57.
Boubabcar Sidibe came off the bench to score a team-high 18 points as the Malians advanced to the tournament’s Quarter-Finals for the first time since 2009.
Mali managed to stop Cote d’Ivoire’s leading scorer Souleyman Diabate and the strategy worked to perfection as they outplayed their opponents from start to finish.
Cote d’Ivoire failed in their attempt to reach the Quarter-Finals for the fifth consecutive time and will take part in the Classification Games.
Wednesday will see the last four remaining games of the Round of 16:
Round of 16 match-ups (all times local; GMT +1)
Senegal v Uganda, 13:30
Cape Verde v Gabon, 16:00
Nigeria v Mozambique, 18:30
Cameroon v Algeria, 21:00