Rwanda started its Group D campaign at the last window of the ongoing Africa Basketball championship (Afrobasket) qualifiers on a low note after losing to Mali 51-76 on Wednesday night at Salle Mohamed Mzali Arena in Monastir, Tunisia.
The two sides' game in the first window qualifiers - held in Kigali last November - ended 70-64 in favour of the Malians.
Rwanda trailed Mali by five points at the end of the opening quarter but Mali bounced back to win 17-12. The Malians held a commanding 13-point lead at the break after dominating the second quarter with 19-11 and stormed into half-time with a lead of 36-23.
When the teams came back for the second half, Mali still continued to lead, winning the third quarter 26-14 but Rwanda fought back and drew the last quarter 14-14.
Despite their good showing in the last quarter, the West African side won the tie 76-51. Center Ibeh Prince Chinenye grabbed 10 points and added 3 blocks while Eli Kaje got 7 points and added 10 rebounds. Malia's Nianta Diarra scored a game high 12 points, while Sadio Doucoure got 11 points.
Meanwhile, in the earlier game, Nigeria beat South Sudan 75-70.
Rwanda's next game will be against D'Tigers of Nigeria on Thursday, February 18.
Rwanda 51-76 Mali
South Sudan 70-75 Nigeria