By Abolade Ogundimu
Nigeria’s AfroBasket male title defence gained momentum on Saturday in Tunisia when the D’Tigers beat Mali 90-67 points in their second Group A match.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the senior men basketball team had narrowly beaten Cote d’Ivoire 78-77 points in their first group match on Friday.
Nigeria beat Mali 20-16 in the first quarter, ended the second quarter leading 39-33, and maintained the dominance by leading 66-51 by the end of the third quarter.
Ikenna Iroegbu, Nigeria’s point guard with Washington St in the famous National Basketball Association (NBA) in U.S., emerged the best performer for D’Tigers in the game.
He scored 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and one steal.
Similarly, Ikechukwu Nwamu contributed 22 points, while Ayodeji Akindele, another U.S.-based player, had 10 rebounds, three blocks and scored four points to humble Mali.
However, Ibrahim Djambo of Mali who scored 24 points, seven rebounds and two steals to emerge top performer for his side.
Nigeria will now face DR Congo on Sunday in their last Group A match.
D’Tigers are the competition’s defending champions, having won the last edition in 2015, while their female counterparts D’Tigress are champions of the 2017 Women’s AfroBasket.
Nigeria’s senior women team, D’Tigress, last Sunday restored the nation’s lost glory in the Afrobasket by defeating defending champions, Senegal to clinch the title for the third time after 12 years.
The News agency of Nigeria reports that in the competition’s final played in Bamako, Mali, the D’Tigress walloped their Senegalese counterparts 65-48 points to beat them a second time in the championship.
The team recorded no loss in all their games to the final in the 2017 edition after they had won it last in 2005. They first won it in in 2003.
With the victory, the team has qualified for the 2018 Women FIBA Championship in Spain