Kano Pillars on Tuesday survived a late surge from a depleted Civil Defence team to earn a 92-91 points victory at the 2017 FIBA Africa Continental Championship Zone 3 qualifiers in Lagos.
Abdul Yahaya scored 31 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, Abubakar Usman added 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Ibrahim Yusuf contributed 17 points.
Pillars led 21-19 at the end of the first quarter but had more to battle with in the second from just 5 Defenders who were yet to clear their remaining players for the tournament. They however stepped up their game in the second quarter as the game was tied 4 times with 9 lead change. But Pillars outrebounded them (29-19) which would have earned more points for the Abuja based side if they had done better inside the paint.
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Defenders captain Joel Ijigba continued from where he left off on Monday as he scored 25 points, 7 rebounds, Gideon Omokudo had 21 points, 7 rebounds, Austin Eseoghene contributed 11 points and 8 rebounds while Samson scored 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Defenders came out stronger in the last quarter, took lead for the first time in the game with 7 :15 minutes remaining and in total we had 27 lead change and game tied 10 times.
With 4 minutes left on the clock, the defending champions established a 12 points lead but back to back 3s from Omokudo reduced the deficit to 5 points (68-63).
Dele Ademola’s double rebounds (11) and brilliant contribution from Yahaya ensured Pillars remained in the lead.
Defenders would have ran away with the victory with less than 12 seconds on the clock but missed a three point shot (92-91) that ensured Azuoma Dike with the rebound wind down the clock.
Mark Mentors bounced back from their opening loss to beat ASPAC of Benin Republic 74-66 points on Tuesday.
Captain of the side, Stanley Gumut who missed out in the first game, scored 25 points and 5 assists while Ocheibi Okpe had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Wisdom Anyaoha made 14 points.
The team who played with just 5 players on Sunday due to late registration of players, had just 2 players short in the game but eventually got the job done.
The last game of the day was more one sided as Gombe Bulls made it two straight wins thrashing Custom Braves of Ghana 84-57 points.
Five Bulls players finished on double figures. Sylvanus Yakubu had 19 points and 7 rebounds, Solomon Ajegbeyi made 15 points and 6 rebounds, Ibe Agu added a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), Kator Gar had 13 points, while Abdulwahab Yakubu added 11 points.
Only two teams have so far won their first two games, Kano Pillars and Gombe Bulls.
Action continues on Wednesday and will see Kano Pillars take on ASPAC at 2pm, Civil Defenders play against Customs at 4pm while Mark Mentors take on Gombe Bulls at 6pm.