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Nigeria beat Korea, continue search for automatic Olympics ticket

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Nigeria’s Ikenna Iroegbu (left) tries to outwit Ra Guna of South Korea during their FIBA Basketball World Cup Group B game in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China…yesterday. 
PHOTO: AFP

Michael Eric was the star yesterday as Nigeria fought back from two defeats to record their first victory at the on-going FIBA World Cup 2019, seeing off Korea 108 to 66 in a one-sided Group B match at the Wuhan Sports Center, China 

TCL Player of the Game, Eric was one rebound short of a double-double in his best game at the competition as four Nigerians recorded double digits. It was a convincing performance that took D’Tigers closer to qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Team Captain, Ike Diogu was influential in limiting Korea’s star man, Ra Guna to just eight made field goals out of 18 attempts while contributing 16 points and six rebounds. 

Others on the double were Chimezie Metu and Ben Uzoh, who contributed 15 and 10 points respectively to Nigeria’s cause.

Speaking after the tie, Nigeria’s Guard, Vincent Nnamdi said: “That was definitely a very big win for us. Coming here, we had very big expectations but unfortunately, we have not met all of them.

“It was definitely reassuring to play the brand of basketball that we know we can play and to go out there and play like ourselves and play together tonight.”

Coach Alex Nworah sums up the team’s approach to the games, “Everything you do here counts. We were not worried about the margin. We were just trying to win the game. Fortunately for us, all cylinders were clicking and we were able to put up a lot of points.

“It came from our defense. Our size and game plan bothered them a lot and we were able to capitalize on that. It was very efficient for us to score those points. We did not come into the game thinking how many points we will score. We came in to make sure that we give ourselves a chance to win this game and we were able to do that very well today.”

Following the win, D’Tigers will now head to Group M in Guangzhou along with Cote d’Ivoire and hosts China for the Classification Round 17 to 32.  

After Tunisia’s 67-64 loss to Puerto Rico, Nigeria stands a chance of qualifying automatically for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the best African side at the World Cup. 


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