D’Tigers See Off Mali in their First Afrobasket Tournament Game
Since their last victory over Argentina in one of their exhibition games before the proper start of the 2020 Olympic Games, the D’tigers bounced back to winning ways with an 81-73 emphatic win over the Malians in what happens to be their first game in 2021 Afrobasket tournament.
Nigeria’s Senior national men basketball team (D’ Tigers) coach, Mike Brown, made a lot of changes going into the game as the team that faced Mali today only majorly consisted of players that didn’t make it to the Tokyo 2020 squad – Mike Brown starting five comprised of Emmanuel Omogbo, Benjamin Emegolu, Daniel Utomi, Ikenna Ndugba and Stephen Domingo.
Stephen Domingo repaid coach Brown faith for giving him the chance to make his senior team debut for Nigeria’s Senior national men basketball team as he netted 11 points in the first quarter to give the D’Tigers a 28-12 lead over the Mali team.
Stephen Domingo in an interview after the game: “It’s the highest honour for me to be able to play for Nigeria… Being able to wear the flag across my chest and for the coach to name me captain is the highest honour.”
Coach Mike Brown discussed the quality of the squad depth he’s got in his hands and he also highlighted the need for his prayers to stop committing lots of fouls and taking care of the ball more going forward after their win today against their opponent (Mali): “When we got here the new guys were so far behind so we couldn’t play 5-on-5. This is the first time that our team has seen somebody else in front of them. There were times they got tired and when they got tired they got really sloppy offensively and had lots of turnovers and they got really tired defensively.”
How the Match Happened
Having impressively started the game on a high note with a 28-12 lead over Mali in the first quarter, the D’Tigers switched off in the second quarter and allowed the Malians to mature into the game with a 16-31win in favour of Mali to have the score margin between the two teams reduced to just one (44-43) at half time.
The D’Tigers found their way back into the game in the third quarter with 17 points better off their opponent finishing the third quarter 27-10 but their one-off performance resurfaced again in the fourth quarter which made them lose 10-20 to the Malians.
The D’Tigers next group game is against Kenya on Friday.