Nigeria’s men’s basketball senior team, D’Tigers, picked up an impressive win against an in-form Cote d’Ivoire side in the latest stage of the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers in Luanda, Angola. The Nigerian team claimed a 72-63 win over their Ivorian opponents in the game.
With the team having gone through rough times recently, the foreign pros were left out of the D’Tigers squad for the qualifiers. Only Nigeria-based players were invited to the 12-man squad, with former Nigerian star and Rivers Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu leading the side to the qualifiers. Having lost to the Ivory Coast last year, the Nigerian team were out for revenge.
Nigeria started the stronger of both sides despite the team playing together for the first time ever, and the D’Tigers claimed the first quarter with a 16-15 lead. The Ivorians came roaring in the second quarter, however, and ended the first half with a 34-30 lead.
Nigeria’s boys showed their resilience in the third quarter as they cut down the Ivorian lead and leapt ahead, leading 53-48 by the end of the quarter. In the fourth quarter, the boys consolidated their performance and ended the game with an impressive 72-63 win against an Ivory Coast side that was on a run of seven consecutive wins.
Kwara Falcons are Nigeria’s league champions and their star Victor Ezeh showed why as he led the scoring with 18 points for his side. Nigeria Customs star Israel Oyoro Otobo also contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds in the game for D’Tigers.
The Nigerians hit 42.9% of their total shots, including 27.8% from beyond the arc. In comparison, Ivory Coast only had 33.8% and 20.5%, respectively. D’Tigers also made 72.2% of their free-throws, while the Ivorians scored only 55% of theirs in the game.
D’Tigers will hope to keep their performance levels at a similar level when they take on Guinea tomorrow. The Guineans have won only one of their qualifiers so far and are among the weakest sides in the competition. The Nigerians need to win all their remaining qualifiers to stand a chance of reaching the tournament.