By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Nigeria male basketball national team, D’Tigers on Sunday won their third group game at the ongoing 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Qualifiers with a 91-68 win over Mali, www.kick442.com reports.
Nigeria trailed Mali by three points 13-16 after the first quarter.
Siriman Kanoute took Mali 5 points up on Nigeria, but Ben Uzoh cut it down to 3 points. However, the Malians did not relent, with Ibrahima Haidara making a steal and going ahead to draw a foul, and then converting one of his two free throws.
It all changed when Amaze Egekeze made an outside shot off Keith Omoerah’s assist. Then Egekeze turned provider for Ben Uzoh who made a layup for D’Tigers to draw level at 25- 25.
Nigeria had a good turnaround in the second quarter. After trailing in the first quarter by three points, D’Tigers go into the break leading their Malian counterparts by 8 points. Halftime scores: Nigeria 39- 31 Mali.
Nigeria got the first bucket of the third quarter. Ike Iroegbu was up 7 points in the game. Ibrahim Saounera does just that with 3 points shot.
Mali cut it down to 5 points through Ibrahim Djambo, but the big man Ike Diogu drew a foul and converted both Free Throws.
Back to Back 3 points shots for Mali’s Ibrahim Djambo, but whatever he can do, Ike Diogu could do as well, responding with his own 3 points shot before Michael Gbinije assisted Keith Omeorah for a dunk which took D’Tigers 14 points up.
The third quarter was very close with only two points separating both teams in this quarter (22-20), However, Nigeria still got a big 10 points lead going into the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t that easy as the scoreline might suggest, in fact, it has been D’Tigers’ toughest game at the AfroBasket 2021 Qualifiers. But the quality in the Nigerian side shone when it mattered most as they claimed a third consecutive victory, beating Mali by 23 points.
Nigeria thus closes out the FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers in grand style as they defeat Mali in their third consecutive 20+ victory.
Ike Diogu (14 points) was exemplary and Ike Iroegbu (17 points) was spectacular.
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