15 January 2011
ZONA VI : South Africa men demolish struggling Malawi.
Basketball is a numbers game. 47; that’s how many points Malawi scored in their first game against Zimbabwe. 47; that’s how many points they scored against Mozambique. Malawi came into this game having lost their last two games by a combined total of 96 points. Therefore, fans expected South Africa to come in and tear them up from the beginning, but Malawi had other plans. They started this game on a 5-0 run and South Africa seemed out of sync to begin it. The first quarter was an unimpressive 9-9 yawner that had fans shifting uncomfortably in their seats wondering what was happening to the South African squad.
In the second quarter, they came back with intense full court man to man defense that Malawi had no answers for. South Africa used their size to their advantage in closing out passing lanes, doubling and trapping the much smaller Malawian players, who committed 29 turnovers in the game. South Africa dominated glass, ripping down 50 rebounds, while Malawi had 31 boards. One of the ongoing trends for the Malawian team in this tournament has been their bad shot selection. They shot 18.5% from the field against Zimbabwe and 32.6% against Mozambique. In this game they shot a dismal 14.6%. This is a testament to South Africa’s team defense. We should not forget that in their first game, South Africa held Zimbabwe to zero field goals in the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter to snatch the victory.
South Africa was helped by the emergence of K Ngotjane (8) who played his most minutes so far in the tournament and was clearly the best player for his team in the game. He played aggressive defense and efficient offense en route to a game leading 16 points and 7 rebounds. Wayne Mhlongo (4), also played a game high 28 minutes and was very active defensively. In the final quarter, South Africa blitzed Malawi and outscored them 22-5 to win the game 62 -29.
Things to note:
Malawi had no player scoring above 6 points; they cannot expect to win ball games if they do not make a concerted effort to attack the basket and score
Wayne Mhlongo and K Ngotjane played 23:40 and 28:18 minutes respectively and were key to overcoming the slow start by South Africa. In the last game, they played jus 02:55 and 01:38 each. This proves that the South African team’s talent goes 12 men deep.
Malawi has now lost 3 games by a combined total of 129 points. That’s losing games by an average of 43 points
Brendan Mettler (5) -10 points, 6 rebounds
K Ngotjane (8) – 16 points, 7 rebounds (both game highs)
F Marhanele (10) – 10 points, 3 steals, 3 assists, 5 rebounds.