Nigeria’s male basketball national team, D’Tigers, pulled off a brilliant win in their second exhibition game ahead of the Tokyo Olympics against Argentina in Las Vegas to make it two wins from two games played so far.
The D’Tigers, ranked 22nd, came into the game against an Argentinean side ranked as the fourth-best team in the world by FIBA, looking to build on their 90-87 win over America’s Dream Team. Argentina started the game very brightly, forcing the D’Tigers to turn over possession easily and disrupting their rhythm. The South Americans controlled large parts of the first quarter as the D’Tigers’ game was rushed and frantic. The Nigerian side ended the first quarter strongly but lost by 19 points to 17. The second quarter brought about a great upturn in the D’Tigers’ play. The introduction of Jahlil Okafor added more vibrancy to the side as they went on to win the second quarter 26-14, ending the first half 43-31 in favour of Nigeria. The third and fourth quarters ended in the same fashion, with a dominant D’Tigers side winning 31-22 and 20-16, respectively, to collect a total score of 94 points to 71 of their opponents.
Detroit Pistons player Jahlil Okafor led the scoring for the D’Tigers with 15 points, and Josh Okogie and Chimezie Metu scored 10 points apiece in the game. They limited the Argentines to 35.9% shooting from the floor, with their own shooting percentage at 48.1%. The D’Tigers did not put on a shooting clinic as they did against the USA, banking more on inside paint finishes in the game.
The victories of the D’Tigers over fourth-ranked Argentina and the first-ranked USA have gotten the attention of the basketball world due to the surprising nature of the victories. Argentina defeated Nigeria 84-71 at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The D’Tigers continue their preparation for the Olympics with a third exhibition game on Wednesday against Australia in Las Vegas.