2013 FIBA Africa results: Talented Senegal team barely victorious on opening day

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The 2013 FIBA Africa Championship tournament began Tuesday with Senegal -- featuring a pair of former NBA big men -- barely escaping with a win in their opening game.

The 2013 FIBA Africa Championship tournament got underway Tuesday with a four-game slate featuring some of the weaker teams in the tournament. Both Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire are considered to have a chance to advance to next year's FIBA World Cup, however -- the worldwide competition and 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament.

Groups A and C were in action on Tuesday as the first of three round-robin games before the 16-team knockout tournament begins next Monday. There won't be any teams eliminated during group play, but seeding will be decided based on win-loss records throughout the rest of the week.

Mozambique 70, Central African Republic 66 -- Neither team is expected to make much noise in next week's knockout tournament, but Mozambique used a 28-12 third-quarter advantage to pick up the victory in the first game of this year's tournament.

Mozambique had three players score in double-figures, led by Augusto Matos with 13 points and three assists. Veteran forward Octavio Magolico scored 13 points while competing in his fifth AfroBasket tournament and Fernando Mandlate rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

The Central African Republic's team was led by Max Kouguere with 20 points. Kouguere played in France the past two seasons and enjoyed a brief stint on the roster of the New Orleans Pelicans' Summer League squad before taking over as CAR's top option in the AfroBasket tournament. Interesting fact about Kouguere? His nickname is actually "Air Congo" ... but, alas, he represents Central African Republic in international competitions, not his native Congo. Johan Grebong, a 19-year-old big man, scored 18 points and added seven rebounds as CAR's only other double-digit scorer.

Senegal 72, Egypt 70 -- Senegal was outscored 23-14 in the fourth quarter of their game against Egypt, but still hung on for a two-point victory. Ibrahima Mbengue hit a game-winning shot with just one second left in regulation as Senegal won their opening game in round-robin play.

Former NBA D-League role player Mouhammad Faye scored a game-high 20 points for Senegal to lead all scorers. Maleye Ndoye and Mamadou Ndoye, Senegal's two oldest players at 33, added 11 points apiece to round out the double-figure scorers.

Senegal features a few recognizable names in the front court, but none of them found success on Tuesday. Former NBA lottery pick Saer Sene had two points and five rebounds in 22 minutes, former Washington Wizards big man Hamady Ndiaye added four points, three rebounds and a block and former Cincinnati Bearcats big man Ibrahima Thomas picked up four fouls in 12 minutes.

Egypt was led by current Minnesota State-Mankato standout Assem Marei with 16 points and nine rebounds while Rami Ibrahim added 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Cote d'Ivoire 64, Algeria 47 -- The team more commonly known as hailing from the Ivory Coast coasted to a 64-47 victory over Algeria in their first game of round-robin play despite shooting worse than 38 percent from the field.

Former Rutgers center Mamadou Lamizana scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and added three blocks for the Ivory Coast while 6'2 guard Kinidinnin Konate found his way to a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds in just 19 minutes (much more efficient than the use of the letter N in his first name). Jonathan Kale, who played his college basketball at Providence, added 11 points in the win.

Algeria was led by Mohamed Harat with 14 points and eight rebounds while Sedik Touati added 12 points and 14 boards of his own.

Angola 75, Cape Verde 50 -- Angola took a 25-8 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, routing Cape Verde in a game they were expected to win.

Carlos Morais came off the bench for Angola to score 21 points and grab six rebounds, making five of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Carlos Almeida, Eduardo Mingas and Felizardo Ambrosio all added at least 10 points as well. Reggie Moore, a former Oral Roberts standout that has played in Angola since 2009, had three points, three rebounds and three assists before taking it easy in the second half.

Cape Verde was led by 10 points apiece from Kevin Coronel and Aldevino Lima. The team as a whole made just 2-of-20 attempts from beyond the arc, however, and was outrebounded by 13 -- seven of those coming on the offensive end.

***

The teams that competed won't be in action again until Thursday. Wednesday's games will instead feature eight new teams as Groups B and D play their first round of pool-play.

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