It was not the best of starts that Nigeria’s D’Tigers would have wished for at the Rio Olympic Games as they lost their opening Basketball match to Argentina by 94-66 points.
The Argentinian team was imperious in their shootings, executing good outside shots that saw them take out any sting in the comeback the Nigerians mustered.
Ike Diogu led in the Nigerian team with a double-double, making 15 points and 13 rebounds, with 12 of that coming from a defensive point. Diogu was followed by Ebi Ere who made 14 points and 3 rebounds.
D’Tigers started poorly in the game, trailing very early by as much as 11-0, but they somehow reduced the deficit to end the first quarter at 22-15. However an early injury to Shane Lawal altered the rhythm of D’Tigers just when they looked like they were getting back in the game.
Argentina was so clinical in their shootings that of 34 outside shots they attempted, they made 15 of them in contrast to D’Tigers who only managed 4 of 25 attempts.
Luis Scola showed grit for Argentina, ruffling Nigeria’s defence as he made 18 points and 9 rebounds. Although Facundo Campazzo made 19 points, young Garino Patricio made the difference in the 3rd quarter and contributed 15 points to his side.
It was a well executed game plan for Argentine who won the Olympic GOLD in 2004, starting with a win to take their first game, however they need to bring their experience to bear when at some point they were rattled by the D’Tigers who cut the deficit to six points.
D’Tigers will now regroup and prepare for their game against Lithuania, knowing that victory will inspire them for the remaining fixtures in their group.