Nigeria’s male national basketball team D’Tigers defeated Côte d’Ivoire 83-66 in their first match of the classification round 17-32 of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in Guangzhou, China.
D’Tigers built their victory on the momentum gained from the last group game against Korea, which marked their first victory at the tournament.
Côte d’Ivoire gave a credible account of themselves holding their African counterparts at arm’s length almost throughout the match. Deon Thompson was one of the prolific players on the court for the Ivorians amassing 19 points, 9 rebounds, while Wafessa Fofana contributed 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
However, Nigeria were not to be left behind as they were able to covert 52% of their 2 point chances as against Côte d’Ivoire’s 42%, who completed 37% of their 3 point chances while Nigeria were able to complete only 35%.
The Ivorians also left a wide margin on the free throws chart against Nigeria, converting 71% while their opponents made only 50%. However, D’Tigers managed to create 23 assists among them two ahead of Côte d’Ivoire.
Nigeria also had more rebounds (44) than Côte d’Ivoire (15) whereas the table ironically turned on turnovers with the Elephants making 15, one higher than D’Tigers.
To complete their dominance over their African opponents, D’Tigers got 6 blocks and 12 steals from the Elephants who managed 2 blocks and 9 steals.
At the end of the match Nigeria’s Al-Farouq Aminu and Côte d’Ivoire’s Deon Thompson were the top performers for both sides.
Nigeria will battle hosts China in their second classification match, where a win for D’Tigers will secure a spot for the 2015 Afrobasket champions in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.