BAL 2024: Rivers Hoopers blowout Cape Town Tigers to seal third-place finish

BAL 2024: Get to know Rivers Hoopers & the seven other teams competing in the playoffs 

History was made for the Rivers Hoopers on Friday as they beat South Africa’s Cape Town Tigers 80-57 in the third-place game at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, to become the first Nigerian side to win a medal at the Basketball Africa League.

The King’s Men, who are the first Nigerian team to win back-to-back games at the BAL and the first Nigerian team to make it to the competition’s playoffs, have picked up the bronze medal.

Having suffered a painful overtime defeat in the semifinals on Wednesday, the Nigerian champions made light work of their South African counterparts with a blowout win in the penultimate game of this season’s BAL.

The Hoopers were very dominant from the beginning, building a huge 17-point lead after a 25-8 first quarter. The Tigers, who hosted the inaugural Kalahari Conference, tightened their defence in the second quarter, which ended 21-18, to reduce the deficit by three points heading into halftime.

The Nigerians came out of the break firing on all cylinders with another huge 20-9 quarter to take the lead up to 25 points and put them in a comfortable spot heading into the final quarter, which Cape Town won 19-17.

Kelvin Amayo led the Rivers Hoopers with 25 points and four 3-pointers to go along with eight rebounds and five assists.

D’Tigers forward Devine Eke finished with 20 points and nine rebounds; Will Perry added 10 points, 7 rebounds, and a game-high eight assists; John Wilkins poured in nine points; and David Ike, 16-year-old BAL Elevate player, got four points and 10 rebounds.

The Hoopers were much better on defence against the South Africans, winning the rebound game 56-53 while also forcing their opponent to 20 turnovers and getting 14 steals.

They moved the ball better also, dishing out 22 assists as a team along with shooting 38% from the field on 32 of 84 attempts and 34% from beyond the arc.

Dhieu Abok Deng led the Cape Town Tigers with 17 points; Ngor Santino Manyang followed suit with 14 points and seven rebounds; Nkosinathi Sibanyoni had eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds; and Dylan Whitbread finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

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