Nigeria’s men’s basketball national team, D’Tigers, will head for the drawing board after losing 68 to 77 points to Côte d’Ivoire in their last Group C game. The loss cost them an automatic FIBA Afrobasket quarterfinal ticket.
The match, which was the group’s decider, saw Nigeria struggling for the better part of the game. They struggled with their shooting averaging 41.8 per cent field goal conversion with 29.6 per cent shooting accuracy from the three-point line.
The game, watched by the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Aminu Ado Bayero, accompanied by members of the royal house, Bayero Isa Sanusi and Bayero Ujudud Sanusi alongside Nigeria Basketball Federation Caretaker Committee Chairman, Musa Kida, lived up to expectations.
A very physical Ivoirian team also dominated defensively as they outrebounded D’Tigers 44 to 30.
Benjamin Emelogu led the team in scoring with 13 points, two steals, and five rebounds.
Uzodinma Utomi had 12 points, TK Edogi recorded 10 points, while Gombe Bull’s Ibeabuchi Agu was solid defensively, helping with five rebounds, two steals, and five points.
Nigeria will play the third-placed team in Group D in their quest to secure a quarterfinal ticket.
Tracing the genesis of the painful loss, Coach Mike Brown said the team did not play harder and together like a team that wanted a win.
“We didn’t play hard or play together and that is a recipe for disaster against a good team. You have to give Cote d’Ivoire credit. They were extremely physical and confident and they were together the entire game.”
He congratulated the Ivoirians for playing better and harder.
“They played harder than us today. They played smarter than us today and they got the win. In my opinion, the best team won the game today. You have to give a lot of credit to Ivory Coast. They did a heck of a job.”
All hope is not lost for a medal finish and Coach Brown is eager to see how the team bounces back from this minor setback.
“It will be interesting to see how our guys response after the loss. We still have an opportunity to go again and we will see how that turns out in the next game,” he said.