FIBA Africa Zone 3 champions Rivers Hoopers lost their FIBA Africa Basketball League opener 88-59 to host AS Sale of Morocco at Salle Bouazzaoui, Morocco on Friday.
Rivers Hoopers who got to Sale one hour to tipoff took a 15 point deficit into the second quarter 12-27 and was worsened in the second quarter 24-47.
They however gave a good fight in the third scoring 20-20 apiece but their effort to turn the game around proved abortive for the Nigerian representatives as they fell to the defending champions.
Precious Osigbodi scored 12 points in 26 minutes, the only player who finished on double figures for Rivers Hoopers.
For AS Sale, Moroccan international Abderrahim Najah led the way with 17 points and six rebounds. Najah proved unstoppable at both ends of the floor with 75% FG and 4/4 from the line.
Soufiane Rourodu shot 100% from the field scoring 16 points, six rebounds and four assists while Zakaria El Masbahi added 12 points, 2017 FIBA Africa Champions Cup MVP Abdelhakim Zouita had 11 points and Mohamed Choua added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Rivers Hoopers will play their next game on Saturday against SLAC of Guinea who also lost the opening game 80-65 to JS Kairouan of Tunisia.