The Nigeria national men’s basketball team started their campaign at the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket tournament in Rwanda on a winning note.
The coach Mike Brown-tutored side romped to a 81-73 victory over Mali on Wednesday at the Kigali Arena.
D’Tigers in their characteristic manner started like a house on fire; storming to a 28-12 first quarter lead but failed to keep that healthy lead in the second half.
D’Tigers allowed the Malians back into the game in the second quarter as they saw their lead reduced to just one point at half-time having been blown 16-31 by their opponents.
It was 44-43 in favour of Nigeria at half time but D’Tigers regained their momentum in the third quarter where they established a 17-point gap; finishing strongly with 27-10 points.
Mali had the upper hand in the final quarter winning it 20-10 but it was not enough to overtake D’Tigers.
Coach Michael Brown speaking after the game appreciated the depth of Nigeria’s basketball team as the Kigali contingent consists majorly of players who were not in the Tokyo 2020 squad.
Benjamin Emelogu led the scoring for D’Tigers with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
D’Tigers will need to improve on their game especially at the tail ends if they are to achieve their target of dethroning Tunisia in Kigali.