13th August, 2010
Nigeriaâ€™s senior national basketball team, Dâ€™Tigers put their quest of picking one of the tickets for the forthcoming FIBA-Africa Nations Cup back on track when they humbled Cote dâ€™Ivoire 72-52 points to take over the leadership of the table in the ongoing qualifiers in Lome, Togo yesterday.
Dâ€™Tigers, who narrowly lost to the hosts, Togo on Wednesday, came out determined against the Ivoriens, who had enjoyed an unbeaten run in the qualifying series. This paid off as the Nigerian side picked the first two quarters with 19-13 and 16-13 points for a half-time score-line of 36-26 points.
The Ivoriens, however, came out stronger in the third quarter, but their effort only yielded a 20-19 points win. They were in the final quarter with a 9 points deficit. They conceded the final quarter to the Nigerian team who overwhelmed them with 17-06 points for a final score of 72-52 points. This victory shot Dâ€™Tigers to the top of the four-nation FIBA-Africa zone 111 elimination series.
Nigeriaâ€™s Abubakar Usman led the floor with 19 points, Azuoma Dike added 14 points, and Matthew Omonye contributed 10 points and 5 rebounds, while Onyeka Ekpete grabbed 7 rebounds to secure victory for Nigeria, who now share the same 2-1 record with Cote dâ€™Ivoire.
â€”WaleÂ Â Joseph