Aliou Diarra and Souleymane Berthe led Stade Malien to their first-ever Basketball Africa League (BAL) on Tuesday.

Stade Malien outscored Kwara Falcons 78-74.

After recording his first double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds against reigning champions US Monastir on Sunday, Diarra finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks to help the Malian champions in the much sough-after win.

Berthe had a slow start to the game, but made sure to put his scoring prowess on display.

Although he finished the opening quarter without a single point, he added 10 points in the second quarter, before checking out with 20 points and 3 assists.

In the process, the BAL debutant Stade Malien improved to 1-1 while Kwara Falcons dropped to 0-2.

Diarra stepped on the floor with a sense of urgency, and by the end of the opening quarter he indicated why he would be the most impactful player of the game after finishing with 14 and 8 in 10 minutes.

Stade Malien’s rebounding advantage (14-11) in the opening quarter was just a sign of their determination to hurt the Falcons, and by the end of the game, the Bamako-based team won the rebounding battle 49-44.

“They really hurt us in the first half on the boards,”

Said Falcons guard Jeremiah Mordi who finished with eight points and a team-high of five assists.

“They had a pretty big inside presence,”

Mordi acknowledged.

In fact, Diarra had man-of-the-game performance. And by the time he fouled out with three minutes left, Kwara Falcons regained momentum rallying from a 20-point deficit at some point to cut the gap to four points.

“We used a sense of urgency in the fourth quarter. It was just a bit too late,”

“If we had that same urgency after halftime or even to start the game we would be in a lot of better position to win this game.”

Mordi admitted, adding.

And although Kwara tied the game at 29-29 later in the second quarter, Stade Malien used a 7-0 run to head to the locker room with a 36-31 lead.

Anthony Wilson Jr was 3-for-3 from behind the arc to lead the Nigerian champions with 19 points, Jawad Adekoya added 12 points, but one of the moments of the game was the introduction of Modou Fall Thiam.

The 17-year-old shooting guard replaced injured Khadim Mboup in the Falcons’ squad, and made an immediate impact.

He came off the bench to convert 3 of his 5 shots and headed to the locker room as the Falcons’ leading scorer with 7 points.

Thiam had a 4-for-8 shooting to finish with 11 points.

When John Wilkins picked two straight fouls for his 4th in less than a minute into the third quarter, Rueben Chinyelu seized the opportunity to enter his name to the scorers sheet.

Chinyelu finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks shots.

After being limited to less than 50 points in the 64-48 loss to Rwanda Energy Group, by the end of the third quarter on Tuesday, the Nigerian champions trailed 64-49.

“We made some progress,”

Insisted Falcons coach Kadri Jibril.

“I used to the opportunity to show what I can do and help the team. Nigeria is my country. I love Nigeria. At this point it’s just basketball. When we are on the court, it’s business.”

Chinyelu added.

Source: NBA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.