Coach Nson: Panic cost us against Ivory Coast
National men’s basketball team assistant head coach Abel Nson says panic in the second half cost them a win against Ivory Coast despite playing very well in the first half.
Nson adds that experience helped the opponents a lot in registering a win.
“They had enough experience, our players did an incredible job – being our first game at this level in 28 years the nerves at some point took over, that’s what experience is all about. We panicked a little bit showing errors at the end, the lads have shown a high level of resilience and understanding, hoping to do better in the next match,” Nson said.
His sentiments have been echoed by fellow assistant coach Sadat Gaya who says they started flat in the third quarter which gave opponents time to build a lead.
“We played good basketball for 35 minutes. The 3rd quarter we started flat, that’s where Ivory Coast built a lead and couldn’t close a gap. They took care of the ball and executed well,” Gaya said.
Morans lost their first Group C match opener 88-70 to Ivory Coast while Nigeria hammered Mali 81-73 in the same group.
The Kenyan side who were playing in Africa’s biggest basketball tournament for the first time in 28 years will now be facing Nigeria on Friday at 4PM while Mali and Ivory Coast will be battling it out at 7pm.
Nson now shifts his focus to the Nigeria match saying they stand a chance if they remain disciplined.
“We stand a chance if we stay disciplined. Their coaching staff is led by Mike Brown of the NBA so we believe he has broken us down well. In our first match we did not defend the 3pts line well enough. So we have to change that. If we play at our pace we should be able to make it a game and we just close it out this time,” he said.
Gaya says they will study the film on how they played and also watch the match between Nigeria and Mali to see how they played and what to expect.
“Come tomorrow, we will be ready as we look to make the necessary adjustments of protecting the ball, defending the ball and executing better on offense. Their line-up is not what they had in the Olympics or qualifiers. Many new faces,” Gaya said
Nigeria have won the tournament once in 2015, finishing second four times in the years 1997, 1999, 2003 and last edition 2017. They have also finished in third place three times, 1995, 2005 and 2011.
They have played in the FIBA World cup three times and are currently ranked first in Africa and 23rd globally.