Nigeria senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers on Saturday began their FIBA World Cup on losing note, falling to an 82-77 defeat to Russia at the Wuhan Gymnasium
The 2015 Afrobasket champions were primed to cause a major upset against the Russians who had to fight back from eight points down in the fourth quarter for a crucial 82-77 victory.
Andrey Vorontsevich scored 14 points and Andrey Zubkov notched 12. Vitaly Fridzon went for 11 points.
Sergey Bazarevich’s national team jumped to an 11-point lead in the first quarter. Kulagin provided the answers for the first-half lead.
D’Tigers turned the game around getting a 68-60 lead midway through the fourth, but could not hold on.
Josh Okogie posted a game-high 18 points, but the 20-year-old forward lost the ball with the game tied at 75-75 in the last minute.
Ike Iroegbu followed with 12 points and Nnamdi Vincent added 11 for Alexander Nwora’s side. Chimezie Metu and Jordan Nwora had 10 points apiece.
According to the official page of the team, @NigeriaBasket, head coach, Alex Nwora, believes the team has learned from the loss and will focus on the next game.
“We’re a very young team although we have veteran and have a lot to learn from this game,” he said.
Nigeria will play Argentina on Monday in her second group game.