FIBA Africa Championship 2011: Tunisia Shocks Angola For Gold, Wins Olympic Bid

The semifinals for the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship are set, with one Olympic basketball bid and two spots in next summer's last-chance qualifying tournament up for grabs.

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Nigeria Takes Third At FIBA Afrobasket 2011, Wins Bid To Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Nigeria knocked off Cote d'Ivoire on Sunday to take third place at the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship in Madagascar. Along with bronze, Nigeria earns a bid to the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament.

Nigeria had come into the knockout phase as one of four top seeds, but fell in the semifinals to perennial African champion Angola. Nigeria featured the tournament's only recent NBA player, Ime Udoka. In Sunday's bronze game, the former Spur had nine points. Nigeria was led by Derrick Obasohan, who finished with 19 points.

Cote d'Ivoire had fallen to Tunisia in a heartbreaker on Saturday, and now looks to Afrobasket 2013 and a potential spot in the 2014 FIBA World Championship.

The loser of the Afrobasket Championship game between Tunisia and Angola will also take a spot in the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament. The winner of that game will move straight to the Olympic field. The 2012 London Olympics begin July 27, 2012.


FIBA Afrobasket 2011: Angola Advances To Final Over Nigeria, Will Face Tunisia

Angola had a tougher-than-usual route through the 2011 FIBA African Championship, losing a continental match for the first time in a decade in group play and being taken to overtime in the quarterfinals. But the champion of 10 of the past 11 continental tournaments has come out ahead when it counts, and beat Nigeria 76-68 on Saturday to advance to the Afrobasket championship game.

Angola will meet Tunisia -- who beat Cote d'Ivoire earlier in the day -- in the championship game on Sunday. The winner earns a bid to the 2012 London Olympics.

The Angolans trailed by eight late in the second quarter, but stormed back to tie the game by halftime. Nigeria, led by Ejike Ugboaja (16 points) and Derrick Obasohan (13), stayed strong, taking a two-point lead into the fourth. But the final quarter was all Angola, as the reigning champs outscored the Nigerians 22-12 in the last frame to take the win.

Nigeria now must beat Cote d'Ivoire on Sunday to earn a bid to the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next July. The loser of the championship game will also be invited.

Nigeria's Ime Udoka, the tournament's most experienced NBA player, scored 11 points, but all of them came in the first half. He shot just 4-15 from the floor. Joaquim Gomes and Eduardo Mingas led Angola with 15 points apiece.


FIBA Africa Championship 2011: Tunisia Advances Over Cote d'Ivoire In Afrobasket Semifinal Thriller

Tunisia will have a chance at its first-ever FIBA Africa Championship title after knocking off Cote d'Ivoire in a closely-fought semifinal match-up in Madagascar Saturday. Tunisia got through 60-57 in a game in which neither team led by more than nine points, with the Ivorians holding a one-point lead with just two minutes left.

But Tunisia took over from there, with the defense holding down Cote d'Ivoire's attack and the Tunisians getting just enough offense to get by. Tunisian center Salah Mejri saved the day, grabbing two steals in the final 30 seconds and icing the game with two free throws to set the final score. He finished with 14 points on 5-6 shooting. Power forward Macram Ben Romdhane led Tunisia with 15 points.

Cote d'Ivoire's Guy Edi (5 points) and Mouloukou Diabate (6 points) struggled, but the team stayed alive thanks to strong three-point shooting (6-14 as a team) and good work from center Mohamed Kone.

Tunisia will face the winner of the second semifinal between Nigeria and perennial champion Angola. Cote d'Ivoire will face the loser of that game with a bid to the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next July on the line.

Tunisia hasn't advanced to the championship game since 1965.


FIBA Africa Championship 2011: Angola, Cote d'Ivoire Join Tunisia, Nigeria In Semifinals

The final four of the 2011 FIBA Africa Championship have been decided, with a trip to the 2012 London Olympics on the line. Perennial African champion Angola needed two overtimes to get past a surprising Cameroon squad in the round of eight, as Cameroonian Franck Ndongo fouled Angola's Carlos Morais with his team up one and two seconds left. Morais hit both and Angola moved on.

Angola entered the tournament on a 10-year unbeaten streak in continental competition, but lost to Senegal in group play. But Senegal burned out in the knockouts, falling hard to Cote d'Ivoire, who will now face Tunisia on Saturday for a spot in the finals. Nigeria will face Angola in the other semifinal. The championship and bronze games will be played Sunday.

The Olympic tournament is small, with just 12 teams. Europe and the Americas each qualify two teams, and Asia, Africa and Oceania qualify one apiece. Great Britain has a host nation spot, the United States qualified by winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship and three final teams will qualify from the last-chance tournament in July 2012. Africa usually qualifies just its champion for the Olympics.

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