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FIBA World Cup: Gallant D’Tigers lose opening game to Russia

Nigeria’s D’ Tigers have lost their opening game of the FIBA World Cup. They fell to Russia  82-77 a in Group B match up at the Wuhan Arena.

Nigeria’s coach Alexander Nwora (L) speaks to Nigeria players during the Basketball World Cup Group B game between Russia and Nigeria in Wuhan, Hubei province, on August 31, 2019. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT

Despite catching up with the Russians at 58-58 in the third quarter and leading by eight points in the fourth, D’Tigers failed to find a cutting edge as they were punished by the Russians from turn overs. Point Guard Josh Okogie garnered 18 points high scores, and six players fininshed with double figure points, the the efforts were not enough to lift the team.

They need to push harder when they meet Argentina in their next game tomorrow. Argentina beat South Korea by 26 points at 95-69. Spain also beat Tunisia 101-62 points while Cote d’Ivoire lost to China 55-70.

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Speaking after the game, Okogie talked about losing the 8-point lead in the final quarter thus: “We wanted to make them take contested two pointers, and we’ve been doing that successfully. Then, we allowed them three easy threes. When you allow a team like Russia three threes straight, they will punish you.”

Russia’s head coach, Sergey Bazarevich, said,  “”For this kind of a game, (8-point lead) really was a big lead. But we went with the small lineup, we made two quick three-pointers and that helped us to endure over the last two minutes. And in the last two minutes we were better, more concentrated, smarter and had a little (bit of) luck, too.”  




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