The Nigeria national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, completed their schedule in Kigali on Sunday with a comprehensive 91-68 win over Mali – their third victory in three matches.
Having already booked their ticket to the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket tournament, Coach Mike Brown’s team closed out Sunday – increasing their win margins over the three matches – 20, 21, and 23-point wins.
Ike Iroegbu led the team in scoring with 17 points in just over 23 minutes while Obi Emegano had another terrific outing with 12 points and five defensive rebounds in about 26 minutes.
Emmanuel Omogbo led in both offensive and defensive rebounds with eight, though Ben Uzoh pulled down eight defensive rebounds. The team improved slightly in their three-point shooting, which dropped to 30 per cent against Rwanda. It improved to just about 32 per cent against Mali – being successful in 10 of 32 attempts.
In the post-match press conference, Nigeria’s Ben Uzoh said the team was pleased because “we had a goal, we had a strategy and we were able to execute that strategy to reach the goal.”
For Brown, he was happy that the players stayed concentrated till the end. “We are learning to play all 40 minutes. We have to figure out ways to score easy baskets. With nobody defending you, everyone should be a decent free throw shooter and so to have a team step up and shoot.”
Mali’s Ibrahim Djambo was the star turn for his team as he poured in 22 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Rwanda, Mali, and South Sudan will want to put up stiffer resistance in the next phase of the qualifiers next February.
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