Silverbacks fall in Kigali

Adding Impetus. Zziwa (L) came off the bench and helped Uganda cut the deficit to 19-12. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Slow Start. Uganda’s shooting was forgettable with only six three-pointers managed from 36 attempts. Seiko led the show with four threes. 
  • FIBA AFROBASKET CHAMPS FINAL SCORE: Senegal 93-55 Uganda

The national men’s basketball team, Silverbacks, received a rough welcome to the 2021 Fiba Afrobasket Championship in Kigali, Rwanda Wednesday evening.

The search for a first ever group win at the championship was stretched after a 93-55 beating by Senegal. 
Uganda struggled for offence on the night and only had shots falling late in the game with Senegal cruising. 

Ringing changes
Head coach George Galanapolous changed his line up to accommodate Adam Seiko and his brother Arthur Kaluma.
The two started alongside Jimmy Enabu, Deng Geu and Ishmail Wainwright and relegated Tony Drileba and Robinson Opong to the bench.

Senegal outplayed Uganda in all areas with Gorgui Dieng, Pape Malick Dime and Ibrahima Faye dominating the paint while Brancou Badio found his rhythm early in the game.

Uganda shot six of 36 from beyond the arc and 14 of 38 from inside on a dismal scoring night.
The Silverbacks were further outrebounded 56-43 on the night.  Kieran Zziwa came off the bench to spark Uganda’s offence by twice driving to the basket to cut the deficit to 19-12.

Senegal led 21-14 at the end of the first ten minutes.  The second quarter started with Zziwa turning the ball over and Senegal scored on the other end before Deng Geu was fouled inside for Uganda’s first trip to the free throw line.

The five-time champions continued to dominate the inside and stretched the lead to 13 points midway through the second quarter. 

The Silverbacks put on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to seven points (35-27) with more pressure on the ball forcing some turnovers out of Senegal. 

By halftime Uganda had turned the ball over 14 times and trailed 40-31 with both Wainwright and Deng, the Silverbacks starting bigs, on three fouls. Wainwright picked his fourth early in the third stanza. Dime, Dieng and Faye dominated the paint against a much smaller Ugandan team. Senegal limited George Galanapoulos’ charges to just nine points in the third frame and got 25 to lead 65-40 going into the final quarter. 

Shooting woes
Uganda’s three-point shot failed to go in all night until late in the fourth quarter when Seiko scored Uganda’s first points of the quarter after six minutes. He banked three shots from downtown to become the only Ugandan in double figures with 12 points.

Zziwa banked nine points while Wainwright and Kaluma had eight points each.
Galanapoulos took the blame for the loss in his post-game interview. 
“I take the blame for this for not preparing the team well. 
The good is that what didn’t go right can be fixed,” he said. 
Uganda only had four days of training before their first game.

POINTS PER PLAYER 
Adam Seiko    12

Tonny Drileba    0    

Jimmy Enabu    5    

Robinson Opong    5    

Keiran Zziwa    9  

Ben Komakech    DNP 

Deng John Geu    5    

James Okello    0    

Titus Odeke    DNP 
Eric Rwahwire    3    

Ishmail Wainright    8    

Arthur Kaluma    8
*DNP for Did Not Play

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