Kenya Morans have lost their FIBA Afrobasket 2021 Group ‘B’ qualifiers opener after going down 69-51 to Senegal in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Senegal fought from a four-point half time deficit to win, sealing their ticket to this year’s Afrobasket championships.
Preston Bungei scored seven points in the first half registering two rebounds and two assists as Kenya lead 31-27 at the break.
However, in the second half Senegal outplayed Kenya to a massive 42-20 score with Senegalese talisman Bamba Diallo and Mbaye Ndiaye leading the West Africans in the paint.
Morans got off to a bright start in the first quarter, taking a 5-0 advantage in the opening two minutes Desmond Owili three-point jump shot and two-point fade away shot hit the basket.
Tylor Ongwae extended Kenya’s lead to 7-0 before Senegalise talisman Bamba Diallo reduced the deficit to 7-3 with a corner three jump shot.
Mbaye Ndiaye would then make two free throws before Ibrahima Faye added a three-pointer as Kenya trailed 8-7 with five minutes played.
Morans responded through Bush Wamukota’s three-pointers, a fete Senegalese Diallo repeated twice before Youssoupha Ndoye’s dunk and Ibrahima Faye’s layup saw Senegal outplay Kenya to a 21-18 first-quarter lead.
In the second quarter, Morans came out roaring as Ronald Gombe’s jump shot reduced the deficit to a one-point game.
Morans best player Preston Bungei added a three-pointer before Gombe, Tylor Ongwae, Valentine Nyakinda each converted at the paint for Kenya to lead 31-27 at the break.
In the second half, Senegal, who had 20 rebounds in the first half and a shaky defense seemed to have found their fire as they broke out for a massive 25-10 score in the third quarter to lead 52-41 with 10 minutes left to play.
Two threes by Ibrahima Faye and a couple of dunks by Pape Diop sealed the deal for Senegal whose 17-10 fourth-quarter score was enough to help the team seal a 69-51 win and qualify for Afrobasket.
Kenya return to the courts to play 11 time champions Angola on Saturday before playing Mozambique on Sunday.
Morans will have to win one game to qualify for the Afrobasket
The top three teams will qualify for the African finals later this year. Kenya last featured in the continental showpiece in 1993.