Depleted D’Tigers kick off 2021 AfroBasket with a win over Mali

Nigeria's men's basketball team won their first game of the ongoing tournament.

D'Tigers beat Mali at 2021 AfroBasket (FIBA)

A few weeks after the Tokyo Olympic Games, there is already a massive difference in the Nigerian men’s basketball team.

After a couple of satisfactory results pre the Olympics, the D’Tigers were underwhelming in Tokyo with three straight losses.

Yet, they would have been favourites for the 2021 AfroBasket, which kicked off in Rwanda on Tuesday, August 24, but the absence of NBA stars and some other European based players have depleted the squad.

Yet Mike Brown’s team kicked off their campaign on Wednesday, August 25, with a well-fought 81-73 victory over Mali.

With a starting five of Ikenna Ndugba, Emmanuel Omogbo, Benjamin Emegolu, Stephen Domingo, and Daniel Utomi, the D’Tigers came out firing very early in the game.

On his debut for Nigeria, Domingo dropped 11 points as D’Tigers ran to a 28-12 lead in the first quarter.

The Malians got back into the game in the second quarter, which ended 44-43 to Nigeria at halftime.

D’Tigers took control of the game in the third quarter with Jordan Ogundiran’s massive performance.

There was a slip in that third quarter, which saw Nigeria blow a significant lead, but they held on in the fourth to win the game 81-73.

This win came courtesy of success from the three-point line with the D'Tigers dropping 18 three-pointers.

D’Tigers will next play Kenya in their second group game on Friday, August 27.

Nigeria, the number one team in Africa, has won the Afrobasket title once in 12 attempts. They finished second place four times and got third place three times.

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