Nigeria’s male basketball team D’Tigers has lost its opening match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to the Australian Boomers 84-67 after a disastrous fourth quarter in the Group B encounter on Sunday morning.
The Nigerian side started the match very well, ending the first quarter level on points with their Australian counterparts 23-23 before a series of poor decisions and turnovers saw Australia win both the second and third quarters by three points to go into a 58-52 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Aussies put up a brilliant defense, denying the D’Tigers the opportunity to go on fast breaks and utilise their pace in offense while also forcing them to continuously turnover possession of the ball, racking up 21 turnovers. The D’Tigers’ strategy of dribbling the ball inside the paint resulted in a lot of fouls from the Australian side, however, the Nigerians were wayward in their shooting from the free-throw line as they scored a measly 12 out of 24 free throws as opposed to Australia, who scored 17 of 19 of theirs. The Australians took full advantage of this and ended the fourth quarter with a 26-15 win, securing a 84-67 win for the Boomers. Veteran and four-time Olympian Patty Mills led the scoring in the game with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 6 assists.
The result was not a fair reflection of the game as the D’Tigers matched up to their more illustrious opponents for the majority of the game and were unlucky to lose by such a margin. They next face Germany on Wednesday in a crucial match in their Olympics participation.