- Burna Boy’s Police Escorts Shoot Married Man After Singer Made Pass At Wife - June 12, 2022
- I’m Ashamed Of Ohanaeze, No Longer Believe In Body – Umahi Attacks Obiozor - June 12, 2022
- June 12: President Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech - June 12, 2022
D’Tigers of Nigeria got the better of the United State of America basketball team in a pre-Olympic friendly, winning 90-87 in the early hours of Sunday.
The Nigeria side comprised of modest NBA players come out tops against a star-studded, All-NBA, max-contract performers in the USA team.
Nigeria ranked 22nd by FIBA beat the No 1-ranked team and three-time reigning Olympic gold medalists to booster their confidence ahead of the Olympics.
“I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard and knocked down a lot of 3s,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “Give them credit.”
Gabe Nnamdi of Miami Heat led Nigeria with 21 points. Caleb Agada scored 17 points, Ike Nwamu added 13 and Nigeria outscored the U.S. 60-30 from 3-point range.
Kevin Durant, who had never before played in a loss for USA Basketball in 39 senior international games, had 17 points. Jayson Tatum added 15, Damian Lillard had 14 and Nigeria-born Bam Adebayo 11.
“Just goes to show that we have to play better,” Tatum said.
The Americans had gone 39-0 in their last three Olympic seasons — including pre-Olympic exhibitions — on their way to gold medals and had been 54-2 in major exhibitions since NBA players began playing for USA Basketball in 1992. Plus, they’d beaten Nigeria by a combined 127 points in their last two meetings, one at the 2012 London Games, the other a warm-up for the 2016 Rio Games.
Nigeria lost to the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics by 83 points. Lost to the Americans again four years later in an exhibition, that time by 44 points.
However, history was not to repeat itself as the Nigerian team changed the narrative.
“Nigeria’s come a long way with their basketball,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.
Ike Iroegbu — a former Washington State player who spent some time in the G League — hit a 3-pointer with about 1:15 left to put Nigeria up 88-80. Durant scored the next seven points for the U.S; a 3-pointer, two free throws following a turnover, then two more from the line with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Nnamdi made two foul shots with 13.2 seconds left to restore Nigeria’s 3-point edge. The Americans ran 9.7 seconds off the clock on the ensuing possession without getting a shot off, and Zach LaVine missed a pair of free throws — the second intentionally — with 3.5 seconds left.
Precious Achiuwa got the rebound for Nigeria, and that was it. It’s only an exhibition — but the upset was still of the massive variety.
Popovich heard the final buzzer and shook hands with Nigeria coach Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant, as the Americans walked off stunned.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.