Nigeria senior national team, D’Tigers, survived a late scare to beat Cote’d Ivoire 78-77 at the ongoing Afrobasket Championship in Tunisia on Friday.
Captain Ike Diogu finshed with 31 points and 8 rebounds while Ike Iroegbu added 15 points and 7 rebounds.
D’Tigers were in a brilliant form in the first two quarters. The first half ended 42-33 in favour of the African champions.
With less than 3 minutes on the clock, Diogu was already on 15 points, displaying his leadership role on the court. He took control of the game at both ends and the team could count on him whenever he got into the paint.
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Nigeria had a poor shooting in the third quarter and could only score 11 points. The final quarter was a tough battle between the two teams and had the game tied six different times.
The Ivorians made a quick turn around and almost snatched the victory with less than 14 seconds left but Eric Tape who scored 15 points for his team had his 3 point shot hit the rim without penetration. And with 8 seconds remaining, it was not still enough for the Ivorians who saw their shot hit the rim twice in quick succession while Adedeji Akindele was quick to get the defensive rebound just 2 seconds before the buzzer.
22-year-old Iroegbu made a great start to his first international outing. He added 7 assists and 3 steals on his debut game with the D’Tigers.
Nigeria will next play Mali on Saturday at 8:30pm.