Nigeria’s D’Tigers have exited the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after losing their last group game to the host country Brazil by 86-69 points on Monday.
A good second quarter by Brazil saw them open up an 11-point lead, going into half time leading Nigeria by 42-31 points and they further stretched it in the 3rd quarter to win what was a vital match for the two countries.
Both needed to win and hope Lithuania beat Croatia in their game to stand a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals , but it was Brazil who made the best use of the opportunity.
Nigeria made some poor decisions offensively and defensively as well, with Brazil making as much as 10 steals which they all duly converted to points and stretched their lead in the match.
Although it must be said that D’Tigers gave themselves a chance, leading by 13-8 in the first quarter and had an opportunity to come back in the fourth quarter when Ben Uzoh missed all two of his free throws to reduce the gap by just two points with over five minutes left to play.
Josh Akognon led for Nigeria with 16 points and Uzoh contributing 15, but it was in the rebounds and defense that the team lacked the grit to win. While on the other end, Hilario Nene was vital for Brazil, making a game high 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
D’Tigers might have been eliminated from the Olympics, but they have been impressive and really fought hard in the matches they were involved in, considering that they lost Shane Lawal to an injury in his very first game.
No doubt they will regroup and come back better, and with Al Farouq and Festus Ezeli sorting out their insurance issues in future, the team can only get better under the tutelage of Will Voigt.