Stade Malien hand REG first BAL loss

REG's Cleveland Thomas Jr dribles past Stade Malien's Mamadou Keita on Saturday (COURTESY PICTURE)

BAL Stade Malien hand REG first BAL loss

Ndyamuhaki J Emanzi 21:19 - 18.03.2023
REG struggled for offence and shot 22-for-70 from the field in their first regular season defeat.

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) saw their three-game unbeaten run in the Basketball Africa League come to an end on Saturday.

The Rwandan side had won three games to start their campaign in the Sahara Conference in Dakar, Senegal, but suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Stade Malien.

With their backs against the wall after losing two of their first three games, the Malian side is at a point where every game is a must-win.

And they recovered from Friday’s 74-58 loss to AS Douanes with a comprehensive 84-64 win over the reigning Sahara Conference champions REG to stay in the equation for a place in May’s playoffs.

One more loss would have left Stade Malien in a spot of bother.

REG’s Cleveland Thomas Jr scored the first two points of the game, but once Aliou Diarra made one-of-two from the free throw line and hit a jumper to put Stade Malien ahead early in the first quarter, there was no looking back.

Kaba Kante’s side led 22-12 at the end of the first quarter, and despite stepping off the pedal to lose the second frame 20-15, they maintained a five-point advantage (37-32) going into the halftime break.

Aliou Diarra was all over REG, leading the way in scoring for Stade Malien and crashing the boards as well.

He would go on to register a double-double of 20 points, 16 rebounds and two assists.

Stade Malien scored 23 in the third quarter and limited REG to 17 to lead by 11 points (60-49) going into the final 10 minutes of the game.

There was no coming back for the Rwandan champions as Stade Malien continued to break away in the fourth frame to win by 20 points.

Stade Malien’s 84-64 win over REG means they are back in the race for a playoff spot and ended the Rwanda champions’ three-game winning streak.

Stade Malien has now improved to 2-2, while REG dropped to 3-1.

Souleymane Berthe scored a game-high 23 points to lead Stade Malien on offence.

Kelvin Amayo came off the bench to record 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Malian champions.

REG struggled for offence and shot 22-for-70 from the field in their first regular season defeat.

Adonis Filer and Delwan Graham scored 19 and 18 points, respectively and were the only REG players to get into double figures on the day.

Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza recorded eight points and six assists.

REG will now focus on their last game of the regular season against BAL defending champions US Monastir on Monday.

Basketball Africa League

Sahara Conference

Saturday result

Stade Malien 84-64 REG