After achieving a first-ever win over the USA on Sunday morning, Nigeria’s national men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, smashed Argentina 94-71 on Monday evening at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
After besting the USA, the FIBA-ranked No.1 team, D’Tigers followed up that victory with another eye-catching win over the No.4-ranked Argentines.
Coach Mike Brown was able to name Jahlil Okafor in the team but he started the five of Josh Okogie, Ike Nwamu, with Nnamdi (Gabe) Vincent, Chikezie Okpala, and Precious Achiuwa from the Miami Heat.
Veteran Argentine player, Luis Scola, who is attending his fifth Olympic Games at 41, had his first personal foul within 30 seconds of the start just as Vincent missed his first three-point shot attempt after scoring from six of 10 attempts against the Americans.
An errant pass by Okogie led to Nicolas Brussino getting the first bucket. D’Tigers didn’t click into gear in the first two minutes of the game and went without any point whilst turning over the ball three times.
Okpala got Nigeria’s first points off a drive and pass from Achiuwa. The first quarter ended with the Argentines leading 19-17.
Nigeria finished the second quarter with a 12-point lead as Okafor, Obi Emegano and Achiuwa produced a defensive and offensive masterclass to get D’Tigers ahead. Miye Oni beat the buzzer with a rebound and put back at the end of the third quarter as Nigeria stretched their lead to 19 points.
The fourth quarter was a procession as Nigeria reduced their speed and aggression to win 20-16. While the win over the USA was about the 20 successful three-point shots, Monday’s win over Argentina showed the versatility of the team on both ends of the court, mixing their game, while playing with speed and aggression. They also succeeded in limiting the three-point attempts by their opponents.
Okafor led the scoring for D’Tigers with 15 points while Josh Okogie and Chimezie Metu had 10 each. hots. Argentina had also lost to Australia 87-84 last Sunday.
The last time the two countries met was at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in China which the Argentines won 94-81. D’Tigers’ first match in Tokyo will be against the Australians, whom they play in their last warm-up match on Tuesday.
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