D’Tigers lost their final Group C match against Ivory Coast 77-68 in the preliminary round of the 2021 Afrobasket to miss out on the automatic qualification in the group.
Having won their first two games against Mali and Kenya, D’Tigers were facing Ivory Coast for a place in the quarterfinals at the Afrobasket with both sides having won both of their other group matches in the tournament.
The Nigerian side started the match slowly and were severely punished by their Ivorian counterparts, with the Ivorian team winning the first quarter 20-11. D’Tigers raised their game in the second quarter to defeat the Ivory Coast 23-19 and go into halftime only five points behind the Ivorians at 39-34. The third quarter went on in similar fashion to the first, with the D’Tigers losing 15-13 to a streetwise Ivory Coast side that built a seven-point lead with the scores at 54-47. Ivory Coast continued their impressive display to win the fourth quarter 23-21 and close out the match with a 77-68 scoreline.
Benjamin Emelogu led the scoring for the D’Tigers against Ivory Coast with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Uzodinma Utomi and TK Edogi recorded 12 points and 10 points, respectively. D’Tigers shooting was wayward in the match, with their 41.8% accuracy from field goals and 29.6% accuracy from deep representing a low total in the match. D’Tigers were also out-rebounded by a physical Ivory Coast team 44-30 as the Ivorians dominated the clash physically.
D’Tigers have failed to secure automatic qualification to the quarterfinals with the loss to Ivory Coast, and would now have to face the third placed team from Group D, Uganda, on Tuesday, August 31st, in a playoff to determine which of the teams goes through to the quarterfinals.
D’Tigers coach Mike Brown was of the opinion that the Ivorians were the better side in the match due to their physical edge and aggression in the game when compared to their Nigerian counterparts. He also said that the D’Tigers were unable to play as a team in the match, hence, their inability to defeat the Ivorians.