25th July, 2021
By Michael Adesina with agency reports
Nigerian basketball team, D’Tigers, lost their first game, at Tokyo Olympics 2020, against world number three, Australia.
The game, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena, ended 84-67 in favour of Australia.
They next face Germany on Wednesday. Thereafter, Italy.
The Nigerians fought valiantly against the Aussies in the first two quarters of the match.
Both teams ended the first quarter 22-22.
In the second quarter, Nigeria sometimes led the more experienced Australians.
But the Aussies closed the quarter narrowly leading the Nigerians.
The Australians tore away in the third quarter, consolidating victory in the fourth with a 17 point lead.
Nigerians will have themselves to blame for yielding ground in the game and for not seizing the lead earlier.
They missed a lot of three point throws and were also unable to convert some penalties won.
D’Tigers appeared to have learnt some lessons moving forward against the Germans and Italians.
“Strong start. Rough ending. Move on. Learn from it. Come back stronger against Germany. Two big games coming up”, the team said on Facebook.
Nigeria’s had never beaten Australia in past encounters. Today’s performance showed a lot of improvement.
According to sports’ commentators, Australia should finish top of Group B, as they have the most talent and experience.
They have been together for a long time.
Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingles and San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills are on their fourth Olympic team, Toronto Raptors’ Aron Baynes and former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova are making their third appearance, and Chris Goulding is on his second trip to the Olympics.
However, D’Tigers are expected to finish second ahead of the Italians and Germans who will not be able to match Nigeria’s athleticism and speed.