End of the road for Silverbacks

Double-Teamed. Despite top scoring for Uganda with 21 points, sleek Kaluma (C) was a marked man throughout the Afrobasket quarterfinal tie against Cape Verde in Kigali yesterday. PHOTO/FERWABA

The Silverbacks’ journey at the Fiba Afrobasket Championship ended last night after a 79-71 loss to Cape Verde in the quarterfinals in Kigali, Rwanda.

Uganda got off to a slow start to the game and failed to defend the three-point line in the first half.

George Galanopolous’ charges struggled to stop 7’3 centre Walter Tavares and his double-double of 23 points and 15 rebounds turned out to be the difference. 

CapeVerde shut down Uganda’s shooters Robinson Opong and Adam Seiko for most of the game and the quick transition offence stalled leaving the Silverbacks to struggle for points.

Arthur Kaluma also struggled to impose himself onto the game until the second half.

Slow start 

Joel Almeida banked a three to start the game.

The Silverbacks started on the back foot and Deng Geu missed the team’s first open trip to the bucket. Jimmy Enabu got two quick fouls and made way foe Drileba as Cape Verde got going through Almeida and Walter Tavares. 

Cape Verde led 10-4 in the first four minutes. 

The Islanders shot the ball through starting point guard Nunes Xavier and led had a 9-point lead early. 

Deng Geu hustled and nailed a buzzer three to close the gap to 24-20 after the first quarter. 

Adam Seiko and Eric Rwahwire knocked down threes to start the second and Uganda led for the first time in the game (26-24).

The Silverbacks double-teamed Tavares but that often left Almeida open for shots.

On the other end of the floor, the Silverbacks’ quick transition offence stalled and by halftime, Xavier, Almeida and Tavares had combined for 34 points as Cape Verde led 43-35. 

To start the second half, Ivan Almeida, who was quiet through the first half,  knocked down a three, Fidel Mendoza added another and the lead grew to 13. 

Arthur Kaluma got hot and made three from downtown before Kieran Zziwa was fouled on the three-point line.

He converted all three and the deficit reduced to nine points midway through the quarter. 

10-point game

Ishmail Wainwright ran to the hoop off a turnover to close the gap to seven points. 

Xavier nailed a three to end the quarter and take Cape Verde’s lead back to 10 points (61-51). 

The Silverbacks went the first two minutes of the last quarter without scoring.

Seiko found his rhythm and nailed two threes to bring the game within four points (63-59) and force Cape Verde into a timeout with 6.31 left on the clock.

James Okello was introduced in the rotation and managed to limit Tavares in the paint. 

With 1.34 left on the clock, Kaluma failed to hold onto Wainwright’s inbound and Cape Verde scored off the turnover to lead 76-69.

With the Silverbacks already in foul trouble, Cape Verde converted on the line to settle the contest and progress to the semis.

Kaluma led Uganda’s scorers with 21 points, Wainwright posted 13 points and eight rebounds. The Silverbacks will, though, be happy with their efforts.

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