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D’Tigers down South Sudan in Rwanda 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers opening game

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Nigeria began its campaign at the Rwanda 2020 Afrobasket qualifiers in Kigali with a 76-56 victory over South Sudan yesterday.New D’Tigers coach, Mike Brown, named Ike Iroegbu, Ike Diogu, Obi Emegano, Keith Omoerah, and Mike Gbinije as his starting five in the Group D match.

D’Tigers won three of the four quarters to beat South Sudan, who replaced the withdrawn Algeria, with Caleb Agada leading the D’Tigers with 16 points. Iroegbu followed him with 13 points.

They ended the first quarter 22-17 and pulled further away in the second quarter with a 24-12 blowout.

South Sudan won the third quarter 20-15, but the Nigerians nullified that charge with a 15-7 score in the fourth quarter.

D’Tigers were the more effective from the three-point line – shooting 40 per cent to South Sudan’s 15 percent, but the Sudanese had greater joy in the paint, making 37 percent of their shots as against 33 percent for the Nigerians.

Captain Diogu, making a return to the team, said in the post-match press conference he was happy that the team got the win, especially because the players were coming together for the first time.

“Practice time has been limited. This is actually our first game, so it is good to get our feet wet and get some live competition.”Brown met most of the Nigerian players for the first time this week and is coaching in Africa for the first time, but he described the experience as an “exciting” one.

“The guys we have here are fantastic individuals, and obviously they are good basketball players.” Brown also spoke about the new experience of playing against a team coached by a player [Luol Deng] he used to coach at Cleveland Cavaliers.

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