Nigeria will not compete in basketball at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris following the failure of the senior male basketball team, D’Tigers to qualify.
They were eliminated from the FIBA Olympic pre-qualifying competition for 2023 after losing 68-77 to Mali in their first group game and 93-87 to Senegal in their second.
Following two poor games in the Eko Convention Centre in Lagos, it has already been confirmed that Nigeria will not be attending the Olympics in 2024.
The D’Tigers’ defeat to Mali was largely due to an embarrassing fourth-quarter collapse, as they had started the game strongly.
The first quarter was close, 17-15, but the D’Tigers took control in the second quarter, 26-23, to take a five-point edge into halftime.
Nigeria consolidated their lead into the fourth quarter, leading by eight points, thanks to Daniel Utomi’s outstanding effort. Nigeria was well-positioned to seal the match in the last quarter, with momentum on their side.
Nigeria lost momentum in the fourth quarter and failed to score a single point, while Mali went on a 16-0 run.
The visitors had already built a seven-point advantage by the fourth quarter, so they finally made one of two free throws in just over three minutes.
Nigeria continued to make stupid mistakes and force shots, and the opponent punished them, leading 72-62 with two minutes remaining.
The D’Tigers would go on to hit only two of their 20 attempted field goals in the fourth quarter, which proved costly as Mali shot a game-high 80% from the field to win.
Despite the game’s awful finale, UC Iroegbu led in scoring with 26 points, followed by Daniel Utomi with 16, but the Malians played well enough to spread the points about, with four players scoring in double figures.