By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria’s D’Tigers started their 2021 Afrobasket championship on a winning note with a dominant 81-73pts win against a determined Malian team.
The win which was the first after its last win against Argentina in the run up to the 2020 Olympics saw a young Nigerian team captained by Stephen Domingo bagging the maximum points.
After running to a 28-12pts lead in the first quarter, fatigue induced turnovers and wayward shooting saw the Malians coming back within a touching distance.
D’Tigers were able to cling to a 44-43points lead heading into halftime.
Third quarter saw the Mike Brown inspired side shooting themselves to a 71-53pts lead as they did enough to hold off the marauding Malians in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Benjamin Emelogu who helped the team with 18pts, 4 assists and 8 rebounds had an amazing day on the court posting a 60.0% accuracy from the three point line where he got all his points from 10 attempts.
Domingo who was recently with the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Summer League added 16pts, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
Uzodinma Utomi scored 15pts while TK Edogi was the highest rebounder for the team with a total of 12 and contributing 5pts offensively in the game.
Speaking after the game, Brown praised his lads for holding their heads above the waters in the first game against a typical physical African team.
He said, “We have to take care of the ball better, we can’t foul. Teams are going to get beat, teams are going to get upset. What you do is just learn from it and hopefully grow from it.”
Nigeria will face Kenya in their next game.