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.