Zamalek extended their Basketball Africa League (BAL) unbeaten run on Sunday thanks to a 66-49 victory over Seydou Legacy Athlétique Club (SLAC).
It was the BAL reigning champions’ sixth win in as many games this season and 12th consecutive in the history of the competition.
As much as SLAC looked to compete – they even out-rebounded Zamalek 53-48 – the Egyptian historic club had the game in control.
SLAC trailed by two (13-11) at the end of the opening quarter, but Edgar Sosa and Co embarked on a domination in the second quarter to head to the locker room with a 33-21 lead.
Moustafa Kejo was SLAC’s main trouble on both ends of the floor.
The Egyptian international player had a 5-for-9 shooting to finish with a game-high of 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Sosa, who led the BAL defending champions during the Nile Conference in scoring last month, thought that he had a subpar performance even though he contributed 13 points on a 4 for 14 shooting.
“Tonight wasn’t the prettiest game, but the good thing is that we came up with the win and we are advancing,” Sosa said to the bal.nba.com.
“I don’t think I found my rhythm. A lot of my shots were short. They felt good but they were short. That’s something that I am going to work on the next couple of days.”
Zamalek head to Semifinals where they will go up against US Monastir, in a rematch of last season’s Final.
Zamalek guard Mikhael McKinney later said that the score may suggest an easy win, but it wasn’t.
“We just had to play hard. They are a good team. They try to find a way to get baskets. We had to lock in and play hard,” McKinney pointed out.
“We don’t underestimate anybody. We come out to win every game, and that’s what we are going in the next game and move on to the finals.
Dane Miller tried everything he possibly to propel the short-handed SLAC to victory, but his 11 points and 14 rebounds in 40 minutes on the floor, weren’t good enough.
Oumar Barry contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds and former NBA Academy Africa player Mohamed Keita contributed 12 points, 8 rebounds and a game-high of 4 block shots.
Despite Barry and Keita’s efforts, SLAC were eliminated.
“I tried my best, and I feel that I could have done better,” Keita stressed after the game.
Asked to elaborate on his performance of going up against Anas Mahmoud, one the BAL top performers, Keita said: “I can’t be happy because we lost an important game and we are out. I am just disappointed about my performance.”
Keita, who has been part of the SLAC’s journey since the Road to BAL qualifiers, says that he returns home a more experienced player.
“It’s been a great experience for me. As a young player I learned a lot from teammates and other teams. If I had the opportunity to return to the BAL I would definitely come back.”
Despite his 6-foot-11 frame, Keita is first to admit that he needs to work on his physique, and the next few months will fundamental before he starts his college career with St. Joseph. “I have to put some weight very quickly. I need maybe 15 to 20 pounds on. That’s my goal for the summer. And I need to work on my shots and play harder.”
SLAC concluded their 2022 BAL campaign with a 2-4 record while Zamalek are headed to semifinals with a 6-0 mark.