US Monastir make it rain to beat Kwara Falcons
Kwara Falcons put up a fight on Wednesday in Dakar, but the Nigerian champions were unable to beat the reigning champions US Monastir.
It was the Falcons’ best display in the Sahara Conference so far.
They led for most of the contest, but the last ten minutes proved mission impossible for Kwara.
The Falcons lost 85-75, and with it, they dropped to 0-3 with two games remaining in the Sahara Conference.
Kwara emerged as a transformed team, looking to cause what would be the biggest upset in the Conference.
They forced Monastir to step up, and should remain positive for the remaining games against hosts AS Douanes and Abidjan Basket Club.
Before the clash against Monastir Nigeria international player Victor Ezeh admitted that he was yet to perform at his best, but Wednesday was the day he gave Kwara hope.
Ezeh had a 9-for-19 shooting to finish with 22 points. Ruot Monyyong, the other Falcons to score in double digits, added 17 points.
But after leading by as many as 11 points and head to the locker room with a 37-34 lead, Kwara’s poor perimeter defense proved costly.
US Monastir converted 5 of their 9 three-point attempts in the final quarter to beat Kwara.
Amrou Bouallegue hit a three-pointer to start the final quarter; Radhouaned Slimaned followed it up with a dunk to extend their lead to 62-55, and the Falcons were unable to respond to the reigning champions’ sense of urgency.
Ibrahima Thomas scored 12 of his team-high 22 points in the final ten minutes of the game; Oussama Marnaoui came off the bench to score 5 of his 8 shots to finish 15 points and Jerome Randle and Radhouane Slimane finished with 13 and 11 points for the BAL champions.
It was US Monastir’s second straight win in the Sahara Conference, but forward Firas Lahyani who contributed 9 points and a game-high of 12 rebounds, noted that “the team can play better. We need to improve on our automatism,” he said.
“Nothing really went wrong with Kwara Falcons. The thing that happened was that they started hitting those shots. They moved the ball well enough. We need to do better.
“We are more confident. Now we see how well we can play. It wasn’t the result that we wanted, but we are still optimistic about the next few games.”Meanhile, Ezeh explained.
Kwara Falcons return to action on Saturday, May 18 while US Monastir take on Abidjan Basket Club on Friday, March 17.