The minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, has showered encomiums on the Team Nigeria’s male basketball team, D’Tigers, following their impressive displayed and and strong show in the 97-92 points defeat to Germany in their second group B match of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan on Wednesday.
The minister, who was at the Saitama Super Arena, venue of the match, and saw every moment of the game, described the D’Tigers’ performance as a grade A performance, saying the reigning African champions only lost to Germany on the score board but won on the floor.
“D’Tigers lost on the score board but won on the floor. Against Germany, DTigers played, strong and smart basketball.
“The performance of DTigers today against the German team was an A performance that will propel them to a better third game,” Dare said.
D’Tigress lost 97-92 to Germany as
Jordan Nwora’s 33 points scored was not enough to earn them their first victory in Tokyo.
The game ended 21-24 in the first quarter in favour of the Germans, but Nigeria led in the second quarter 29-26, drew 24-24 in the thir sod quarter and lost 18-25 in the fourth quarter.
It was an incredible display from the Nigerian No33 as he nailed seven 3-pointers to go with his seven rebounds. Miye Oni, with 15 points, was the only other D’Tigers player to reach double figures.
Both sides were tied at 74 points apiece going into the final quarter after Germany’s Niels Giffey nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the score. But in a game in which both sides were desperate for a win after losing their respective openers, it was the Germans who carried on with the momentum from the third quarter as they raced to a 95-81 lead.
But there appeared to be some hope on the horizon when, with 2:10 left on the clock, Miye Oni nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit.
Two plays later, during which Oni nailed another 3-pointer and KZ Okpala stole the ball and drove down the court for a Nigeria lay-up and Danilo Barthel scored a free-throw for Germany, the score was 96-89 in favour of the Germans. And there was still 1:17 left on the clock.
But the attempted comeback was thwarted by the Germans as they held on to record a much valuable win to keep alive their hopes of making it to the knockout rounds.
Although a top-two finish now appears dim for Nigeria, all hopes of a quarterfinal ticket aren’t entirely lost for the African champions, but they would need to beat Italy in their final group match and hope other results go their way to either finish second in Group B or as one of the best third-placed teams to secure a berth in the draws for the quarterfinals.