Nigeria men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, suffered an 82-77 defeat to Russia on Saturday in their opening game of the FIBA World Cup taking place in China.
The game played at the Wuhan Gymnasium was quite as Nigeria almost recorded an upset against the Russians.
The Russians survived a tight battle with Nigeria, coming back from eight points down in the fourth quarter for a crucial 82-77 victory.
Andrey Vorontsevich scored 14 points and Andrey Zubkov notched 12. Vitaly Fridzon went for 11 points.
Sergey Bazarevich’s national team jumped to an 11-point lead in the first quarter. Kulagin provided the answers for the first-half lead.
However, Nigeria turned the game around. After knotting the contest at 58 in the end of the third quarter, the African national team got a 68-60 lead midway through the fourth, but could not hold on.
Josh Okogie posted a game-high 18 points, but the 20-year-old forward lost the ball with the game tied at 75-75 in the last minute. His turnover allowed the Russians to get back in the lead.
Ike Iroegbu followed with 12 points and Nnamdi Vincent added 11 for Alexander Nwora’s side. Chimezie Metu and Jordan Nwora had 10 points apiece.
Reacting to the loss Head coach, Alex Nwora, claimed the team has learned from the loss and focus on the next game.
“We’re a very young team although we have veteran and have a lot to learn from this game,” he said.
Nigeria will play Argentina on Monday in her second group game.