Nigeria’s men’s basketball national team, D’Tigers, on Saturday, bounced back from their opening day defeat to Guinea in the 2023 FIBA AfroCan Qualifiers for Zone 3 to beat Benin 78-51 in the second game of Match Day 2, Sunday PUNCH reports.
The D’Tigers lost 65-62 to Guinea on Friday and faced an uphill task to qualify for the tournament proper.
Ogoh Odaudu’s side needed a win to keep their hopes alive and they did that in style at the Palais des Sports de Treichville in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Just as it was against Guinea, Ibe Agu made the first basket for Nigeria to earn D’Tigers their first points of the game.
The Nigerians were sloppy and missed too many open shots, allowing the Beninois to take the lead in the first quarter.
The first quarter of the game ended 15-10 in favour of Benin.
The second quarter resumed with Benin looking more dominant and they extended their lead by 10 points as Odaudu’s men continued to struggle.
After a brief timeout, the D’Tigers put up a better performance and took control of the game onwards. They limited the Benin side to just 12 points in the second quarter with Victor Ezeh running the offense for Nigeria.
The end of the first half ended 42-27 in favour of Nigeria.
The third quarter was even better for Nigeria as they built on their second quarter display with improved defense, better ball distribution and teamwork.
It was complete dominance from the D’Tigers as they stretched their lead with the third quarter ending 61-38.
Ezeh was the star of the show for Nigeria with his 21 points guiding the team to a 78-51 win to revive their hopes of qualifying for the tournament proper.
D’Tigers will hope to continue their winning streaks today when they take on hosts Ivory Coast in the third game of the qualifiers.
The Ivoirians led by Lionel Kouadio were ruthless in the opening game against Benin Republic with a 74-58 victory.
The 2023 AfroCan final championship has been scheduled to hold in July in Angola.