D’Tigers reminded the rest of Africa why they are still a top seed team on the continent by defeating Mali by 81 points to 73 in their first Afrobasket Championship game. The game was Nigeria’s for the taking right from the start but with the mixed performances in the second and fourth quarter, the team did more than enough to secure their victory against the resilient Malian side.
Nigeria dominated in the first quarter leaving no breathing space for Mali scoring 28 points against 12 points. Their energy depleted as Mali grew into the game in the second quarter with 31 points while Nigeria added only 16 points. Awaken from their unnecessary slumber, Nigeria extended the lead in the third quarter with 27 points to 10. The final quarter performance could result from wariness as Mali tried to fight back by recoding 20 points against Nigeria’s 10 points.
Benjamin Emelogu starred for Nigeria and was the top performer in the opening match against Mali contributing 18 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Tarekeyi Edogi had 12 rebounds and Ikenna Ndugba made 12 assists.
With the next match against Kenya scheduled for tomorrow, it will be amazing to see how this team steps up to the occasion and qualify from the group as quickly as possible.