Nigeria’s men national basketball team, D’Tigers, on Friday secured an 83-66 points win over Cote d’Ivoire at the ongoing FIBA World Cup in China.
D’Tigers survived a late rally from the Ivorians to record their second win at the World Cup and also stay on course to pick an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympics Games.
Friday’s classification game started on an even note with both team trading baskets until Nigeria pulled away at 11-6 and then ending the first quarter 28-18 with a ten-point lead.
The Ivorians switched gear in the second quarter by going up 2 points at 30-32, but Nigeria quickly bounced back to take the lead with a 3 point shot from Ike Iroegbu to tie the game at 35-35 before pulling ahead to end the second quarter 37-35.
Nigeria won the first and third quarters while tying the 4th quarter 20-20 with Cote d’Ivoire winning the second quarter.
Nnamdi Vincent led all Nigerian scorers with 15 points while Cote d’Ivoire’s Deon Thompson led all scorers with 19 points.
Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire are familiar foes as during the final phase of the World Cup qualifiers, D’Tigers defeated the Elephants in Lagos 84-73 points before suffering an away 72-46 points defeat in Abidjan to hand the Ivorians a World Cup qualification lifeline.
Already, the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF President, Musa Kida, said considering the financial implications of prosecuting the Olympics Qualification Tournament (OQT), it’s important for the team to grab the only ticket on offer for Africa at the World Cup.
“Inviting players, camping them and playing the OQT will involve money which can be channeled to developing basketball back home. The boys are fully aware of what is at stake and the need to continue their winning run.”
For D’Tigers to stand a chance of qualifying, they must win their games against Côte d’Ivoire (which they have done) and host- China to emerge as the highest placed team in Africa having enjoyed a better points deficit compared to the other four African teams.