Senegal Surprises: Upsets Puerto Rico, Croatia at FIBA World Cup

Senegal at FIBA World Cup

It’s three games in but Senegal is looking to be the “Cinderellas” of the tournament after the African nation pulled off a second straight upset in Group B.

Senegal started out the tournament with a win against Puerto Rico 82-75their first win on the international level since 1998.

Senegal lost all five games at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, the last time they featured in FIBA’s flagship event. Their last win in the event dates back to 3 August 1998 when they beat Korea 75-72 in the 13th edition staged in Athens, Greece.

A more confident Senegal followed that win with another in a close contest vs. Croatia 77-75. This wasn’t just any win, Croatia is considered one of the “favorites” in the group. Discuss Croatia-Senegal in our forum

Even with a beating from Greece in their third game (87-64), Senegal has captured the attention of the basketball world; proving that they’re not just going to roll over because of past performance or soft expectations.

“We are very humble and honoured to play in this competition.” said Senegal coach Cheikh Saar. “Nobody expected us to at least win a game except us. We have to be greedy, say we want more and look forward.”

The African country is a tough team, but in a very, very competitive group – “The Group of Death” in this year’s tournament — not many expected them to go into the second round. Especially not when they’re in a group that also boasts Argentina, Greece, and the Philippines.

Led by Gorgui Dieng, a current Minnesota Timberwolf in the NBA, Senegal is anchored by the 6-11 center who is averaging 22 points and 11.7 rebounds in the team’s first three games.

African countries, along with Asian countries, generally haven’t fared well in the FIBA World Cup (previously World Championships of Basketball), so the expectation isn’t there for Senegal. In fact, no African country has ever placed in the top four at the FIBA World Cup.

The West African country isn’t even considered the best basketball country in the tournament — that honor goes to perennial Afrobasket champions Angola. If team Senegal can keep up their high level of play, they can add to their already historic run.

Discuss all the upsets in FIBA World Cup in our forum

 

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