Uganda start Zone V tourney with win over Somalia

Uganda 94-72 Somalia

Uganda National Men’s Basketball team, the Silverbacks started their bid to return to AfroBasket with a win over Somalia on Monday evening in Cairo, Egypt.

The Silverbacks, who were drawn in Group B alongside Somalia and Burundi, started the game in explosive mode after a free scoring first quarter.

Led by Stanley Ocitti and team captain Stephen Omony, the Silverbacks put Somalia to the sword and took the first quarter 39-19.

Things changed in the second quarter though as Somalia relied on a quick 11-1 run to close the gap to 10 points (40-30) inside the first 4 minutes of the quarter. The lead was further cut to 6 points (42-36) before the Somalis leveled 42-all with their 3-point shots.

Mandy Juruni’s charges regrouped and regained the lead to go into the halftime break with a 6-point advantage (52-46).

At the start of the third quarter, the two sides matched up quite well before Uganda started breaking away. The score board read 72-63 at the end of the third stanza with Uganda ten minutes away from their first win at the event.

An 8-3 run gave Uganda a 14-point lead (80-66) with Darius Pegues’ monster dunk forcing Somalia into a time out. The lead grew to 20 points (86-66) after the timeout as Uganda cruised.

A 20-point lead was maintained by Juruni’s charges and they led 90-70 before closing the game out 94-72.

Ocitti led the team with a game high 33 points and 10 rebounds while Pegues marked his debut with 20 points and 4 rebounds.

Omony and Joseph Ikong contributed 17 and 11 points respectively.

The win puts Uganda on top of Group B as they wait to play their last game of the group with Burundi on Wednesday.

The two teams that top the group will qualify for the semifinals and cross with the top two from Group A that has hosts Egypt, South Sudan, Kenya and Rwanda.

The semifinals will be played on Friday before the tournament climax on Saturday.