Nigeria’s men basketball team, D’Tigers got off to a disappointing start to the Tokyo Olympic Games as they lost 84-67 to Australia in their Group B opening game on Sunday.
The D’Tigers had gotten two wins against the United States and Argentina in exhibition games ahead of the Games to raise hope of an impressive outing in Tokyo. But they were brought back to earth by the Australians who had also beaten them before the Games.
Nigeria got a strong start to the game led by Gabe Vincent as they matched the Boomers for strength. It was an evenly matched game in the first quarter as both teams were tied 23-23.
The D’Tigers were off to a quick start yet again in the second quarter with a three-pointer to make it 26-23 and could have stretched their lead a little further but they started making mistakes.
The young and unexperienced Nigerian team were guilty of not taking advantage of their too many turnovers, including poor transition and staying poor at the free-throw line.
The Aussies who are rated number four in the FIBA World ranking took advantage of the shortcomings of the Nigerian team. They led by three points going into half time 43-40, after winning the second quarter 20-17.
The Nigerians kept the margin minimal at the end of the third quarter with a six-point deficit at 58-52 in favour of the Bommers.
But D’Tigers collapsed in the fourth quarter, as the Aussies, inspired by point-guard Patty Mills who led a late surge for 25 points, from five of eight three-pointers, with six assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Obi Emegano scored nine of D’Tigers team-high 12 points in the first half while Jordan Nwora had 10 points from the bench and Josh Okogie contributed nine points.
D’Tigers will hope to bounce back from the defeat when they face Germany in their second game who lost to Italy 92-82 in their opening game.