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Things fall apart for D’Tigers

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Spain's power forward Felipe Reyes (C) and Nigeria's centre Ekene Ibekwe (R) go for a rebound during a Men's round Group B basketball match between Nigeria and Spain at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Mark RALSTON / AFP

Spain’s power forward Felipe Reyes (C) and Nigeria’s centre Ekene Ibekwe (R) go for a rebound during a Men’s round Group B basketball match between Nigeria and Spain at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 11, 2016 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.<br />Mark RALSTON / AFP

Nigeria’s male basketball team, D’Tigers, suffered their third defeat in the on-going Rio 2016 Olympics, losing 96-87 points to Spain.

At some point, it looked like an upset was on the cards after Nigeria, who trailed by as much as 14 points from the first quarter, somehow went in front to lead 66-65 in the third.

However, just like in the game against Lithuania, D’Tigers couldn’t keep or further extend their lead, rather giving out two quick turnovers that saw Spain run out with back to back two points apiece.

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Prior to the game, neither Nigeria nor Spain had won any of their first two matches and needed to win the third in order to have a chance of progressing to the quarterfinals of the Olympics.

Chamberlain Oguchi finally found his shooting range for Nigeria at this competition, making a game high 24 points, which saw him make seven outside shots from the 12 he attempted. He further added three free throws, which accounted for his tally.

Most of the problem Nigeria had in the game, was not having much answers to San Antonio Spurs Centre & Power Forward, Pau Gasol, who led for the Spaniards with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Ben Uzoh inspired hope for Nigeria in the dying stages of the 3rd quarter, making five points, which saw D’Tigers take the lead, but a combination of factors in the fourth worked against them.

When Alade Aminu blocked a shot, he was celebrating and lost concentration, as Gasol picked up the ball to make two points and draw a foul in the process, converting the free throws. Aminu was later fouled out and his presence was missed, just when he was getting in the game going toe to toe with Gasol. D’Tigers lost by yet another 9-point game.

Spain are ranked at number two in the world, but with the way Nigeria played against them and Lithuania, D’Tigers can have self belief that they can hold their own against some of the best in the World.


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