The Basketball Africa League tipped off Sunday in Kigali with the hometown Patriots Basketball Club taking on Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers in the inaugural season of the tournament affiliated to the NBA and FIBA involving 12 of the continent’s best club teams
League President Amadou Fall presided over the inaugural tip-off in which Rivers Hoopers took an early lead. The Patriots got on top with an emphatic dunk from Prince Ibeh, with nothing much that Precious Saliu could do about that.
Off an assist from Elie Kaje, Ibeh was back at the rim with no one to stop him.
Rivers’ forward Taren Sullivan brought the ball up and hit from three just before the half to cut the Patriots’ lead to nine.
Brandon Costner led all scorers with 20 points. Off a second-half miss by Sullivan, the Patriots’ Kenneth Gasana collected the rebound and pushed it up court to Sedar Sagamba for the score.
Sullivan had a nifty bounce pass to Robert Daniels for his two points. But the Patriots were just too much with Ibeh collecting one of his game-high 11 rebounds and feeding an open Bush Wamukota for the three.
Sullivan had six rebounds and a team-high 15 points, including this jump shot off a screen. But the Nigerian club never got back in the game. Off a miss by Steve Hagumintwari, Ibeh was unstoppable in the paint, including a late uncontested-dunk off an assist from Costner.
It was the Patriots all over the Rivers Hoopers 83-60.