LUANDA (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - Hosts Angola held off an early Morocco charge to win 62-56 in their opening FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers Group C tie on Friday at the Kilamba Arena.
However, it was Reggie Moore's two back-to-back three pointers that changed the game for good with a minute to play in the last quarter to ease the pressure on Angola.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game but we stayed focused. It has been 10 years since we last played at home and to see the fans support us like that really motivated us." - Mingas
The game was tied 18-all at the end of the first quarter but Morocco turned up the heat in the second to lead 35-28 at the half time break.
Fatigue caught up with the North Africans who only featured eight players following the loss of their luggage that is still expected to arrive from France.
In the last quarter, Angola went all out big and dominated the boards, picking crucial rebounds and scoring from the paint, something that troubled the Moroccans who almost stunned Africa's most decorated basketball nation on the day.
Angola captain Eduardo Mingas told FIBA.basketball that, "We knew it was going to be a difficult game but we stayed focused. It has been 10 years since we last played at home and to see the fans support us like that really motivated us."
The hosts take on Egypt on Saturday at the same venue while Morocco will be up against Democratic Republic of Congo with both sides looking for their first win at the tournament.