The hopes of the African continent rested on Tunisia who faced Wednesday, September 4 Puerto Rico and could qualify for the second round in case of victory. But the Tunisians let slip their qualification in the final seconds of the match (67-64).
In a final for the second Group C post behind Spain, Puerto Rico beat Tunisia on the wire thanks to a three-pointer basket from playmaker Gary Browne, five seconds from the end (67-64).
No better than at the 2010 edition for Tunisia
However, Tunisians Salah Mejri (14 points, 9 rebounds) had been in control since the end of the third quarter. They had five points in the lead at one minute and thirty-five seconds of the term (64-59) but conceded a fatal 8-0.
Tunisia, which would have obtained its direct ticket reserved for Africa for the 2020 Olympics in case of qualification, can still claim it. She must rank as the best team of her continent at the ranking matches. The Tunisians finished in 24th place in their first World Cup appearance in 2010. The Eagles played the 2012 London Olympics tournament.
Without victory after their opponents against Argentina and Russia, Nigerians faced South Korea for a last game counting for butter. The Super Eagles who are one of the sure values of African basketball have won 108 to 66 after taking off in the second quarter.
Ivory Coast has never passed the first round
The Ivory Coast recorded a third defeat against Poland (63-80), after the setbacks against the host country (55-70) and Venezuela (71-87). Last of their hen before this meeting, the Elephants could not finish at one of the first two places synonymous of qualifying for the second round. Since their first participation in a basketball world, Ivory Coast has never passed the first round.
Senegal, Angola, Nigeria, Tunisia and Ivory Coast will not see the second round. We must go back to the 1998 World Cup in Greece to see such a slaughter. At the time, Senegal and Nigeria participated in the competition.
For the first time in its history, the basketball World Cup is set with 32 teams, eight more than in the last three editions. A new format that would benefit Africa, with two additional representatives.