Kwara Falcons suffered a devastating 64-48 loss to Rwanda Energy Group (REG) in their opening game of the 2023 BAL at the Dakar Arena on Sunday in the Sahara Conference.
The Nigerian representatives at the BAL trailed 16-9 in the first quarter but produced a better second quarter performance winning 20-15 to go into the half-time break trailing by just two points at 31-29.
The Falcons capitulated in the third quarter as the Rwandans commanded proceedings on the floor to win the quarter 24-8. The Falcons failed to mount a successful comeback in the fourth quarter winning 11-9 but the game had been lost in the third quarter.
Forward Jawad Adekoya led the Falcons in scoring with 15 points, four rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes followed by Anthony Wilson Jr who had seven points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in 23 minutes.
Delwan Graham scored a game-high 16 points for REG also recording a game-high 12 rebounds in 34 minutes while Cleveland Joseph Thomas Jr had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. Adonis Filer had 10 points for REG while Pitchou Kambuy Manga had joint game-high 12 rebounds, seven points and a game-high four blocks.
The Falcons shot 17-of-69 field goals compared to REG’s 23-of-62 field goals. The Nigerian side also had 21 turnovers compared to REG’s 18 turnovers.
The Nigerian champions had 22 points from REG’s turnovers while also recording 22 points from the paint. They also garnered 14 points from the bench players. The Nigerians will play Stade Malien in their next game on Tuesday March 14.