The 2023 Southern Conference season of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) started on Saturday, and Nigerian representative Kwara Falcons began their continental campaign with a defeat.
They were defeated by the 2022 quarterfinalist Rwanda Energy Group (REG) at the Dakar arena on Sunday afternoon.
Kwara Falcons lost 48-64 to the Rwanda Champions to start their continental campaign on a losing note.
Kwara United, the NBBF champions from the super eight championship last year in Lagos, won two of the four quarters but lost the third quarter 8-24, a deficit they could not claw back in the fourth, which they won 11-9.
The Falcons started well, led by Jawad Adekoya, who made a three-point shot and led the attack, which scored six points before the Rwandan team got on the scoreboard.
Delwan Graham led the fightback for REG as they went on a run of 12 straight points before the Nigerians got another basket. The first quarter ended 16-9 in favour of the Rwandans.
Falcons reduced the deficit to two points in the second quarter which ended 20-15, as the Nigerians pulled within two points of the Rwandans as the second quarter ended 31-29.
The third quarter was a calamitous one as the Falcons were thoroughly outclassed, 24-8. With the damage already done, the Falcons pipped REG 11-9 in the fourth quarter, which gave REG the 64-48 victory.
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Adekoya was the only Falcon into double figures, with 15 points, followed by Anthony Wilson Jr., who made seven points. But Wilson Jr. revealed to the BAL website that the Falcons will come out fighting in their second game, which is against Stade De Malien on Monday.
“One game doesn’t define us. We got to fix what we need to fix and come firing on our next game,” said Wilson Jr.
“Anything can happen. We have already proven that we belong here,” Wilson Jr, added. Kwara Falcons have to shrug off this defeat when they face Stade De Malien on Monday, 13 March, at the same venue.
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