After two wins from their first two games in the 2019 NBBF President Cup, Rivers Hoopers struggled against Police Baton but extended their winning streak as they dug deep to beat Police Baton 63-47 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara Stadium in Ilorin on Wednesday.
Solomon Ajegbeyi scored a double-double 18 points, 10 rebounds, while adding three assists, two steals and one block to go with it. Ikechukwu Benjamin added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 25 minutes. Benjamin also shot 2/3 from the three-point line and 6/6 from the free throw line.
Hoopers had difficulty dealing with the physicality of the Police Baton’s defence as they struggled in the first half of the game. The first quarter ended 6-4 while the second quarter ended 19-14.
On the other side, Kayode Balogun finished with 10 assists, 12 rebound double-double and four steals for Police Baton in 29 minutes of play.
The two sides committed a huge number of turnovers in the game 23-24 as Hoopers made 32.2% from the field and 67.7% from the free throw line.
The KingsMen pulled away for a win mid-way through the third quarter with a 12 point lead over Police Baton which was extended to 16 points after they outscored Police 22-20 in the fourth.
Rivers Hoopers head coach Ogoh Odaudu was shocked his team performed below par against Police Baton.
“I was shocked my team played this way with a huge amount of turnovers. I have never coached a team and it ended 6-4 even a football game they sometimes have 6-0 scoreline at half time. I think it was a terrible performance on our path and we have to talk about it,” said Odaudu.
“It was very difficult for us and we started off really slow. I had to do a lot of yelling and a lot of shouting to actually put the boys in the mood. It was a very tough game even though I knew we were going to win at the end of the game but I had to yell at them to keep us going. I guess my boys were a little bit worried of Police with their style of play to avoid injuries. We knew we were going to win because they are not a good shooting team that’s why we stayed in the zone for a long while and I think it helped us.”
Rivers Hoopers will play against Lagos Islanders on Thursday at 8am.
Benue Braves 55-74 Lagos Islanders
Dodan Warriors 43-58 Civil Defenders
Ondo Raiders 54-62 Nigeria Army Rockets
Invaders 80-86 Niger Potters
Rivers Hoopers 73-47 Police Baton
Raptors 54-67 Coal City Miners