2021 AFROBASKET QUALIFIERS
Nigeria’s senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, defeated Mali 91-68 points to conclude the first phase of the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda unbeaten on Sunday evening.
The perfect run in effectively put Nigeria in the summit of Group D ahead of the next phase of the qualifiers scheduled for February next year.
Captain Ike Diogu led from the front as he powered the team to its third victory with 14 points, 5 rebounds to emerge D’Tigers’ top performer.
Although Mali won the first quarter, 16-13, they lost their rhythm in the second quarter 26-15pts as Nigeria headed into the break with a 39-31 points lead.
It was all about the Coach Mike Brown led team when the second half resumed with the team winning the third and fourth quarter (22-20, 30-17) no thanks to some sloppy play leading to series of turnovers which the Malians paid for dearly.
Point Guard, Ike Iroegbu continued his sterling performance and consistency for the team, scoring an amazing 17 points, 4 steals and 6 assists.
Obi Emegano and Keith Omoerah combined to score 23 points on a night that the team confirmed its superiority.
Despite the heroics of Ibrahim Djambo who sank 22 points and 5 rebounds, it was not enough to stop the determined D’Tigers team who had their eyes fixed on their third straight win after defeating South Sudan and host-Rwanda.
Nigeria had defeated South Sudan 76-56 in a match that was also played on Thursday.
On Saturday, D’Tigers won the first and second quarters 22-13 and 25-15 respectively. They lost the third quarter just as it happened against South Sudan by 24-19 but recovered to take the last quarter at 17-10.
Diogu similarly led in scoring for Nigeria with 18 points while Kami Kabaje’s 13 was the biggest for Rwanda.