Nigeria’s D’Tigers were sent crashing out of the 2023 FIBA AfroCAN tournament in Luanda, Angola following a 74-72 defeat at the hands of defending champions DR Congo in their quarterfinal meeting.
After a convincing victory over Gabon in the Classification Round, the D’Tigers were up against a DR Congo side that pummeled them 81-55 in 2019 en route to winning the title.
The Nigerian boys started the game slowly, and DR Congo dominated the first quarter from tip-off, holding a 13-2 lead at a point in the quarter. The first quarter eventually ended 31-19 in favour of the reigning champions.
The second quarter was much better from the D’Tigers as they fought their way back into the game, and they ended the first half with a 45-37 deficit.
DR Congo returned from the break energised, but found the D’Tigers prepared to go toe-to-toe with them on the court. The D’Tigers levelled the match at 52-52 before their opponents zoomed ahead. Not to be cowed, the Nigerian team managed to stay in the game, and the third quarter ended 59-54.
The Nigerian boys took the fight into the fourth quarter, but the experience and quality of DR Congo shone through as they held on to win by only two points and hold off a comeback from the D’Tigers.
Kanyinsola Joseph led the scoring for the D’Tigers with 23 points and five rebounds, and Martins Chimbuo scored 12 points and nine rebounds. Abimbola Adebayo also contributed 11 points and four rebounds for the team as they reached the end of the road.