Nigeria’s hope of winning any medal or indeed crossing to the next stage in the men’s basketball event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics crashed completely on Saturday as the D’Tigers lost by 80-71 to Italy in their final Group A game. Losing to Italy meant losing all three group games.
D’Tigers had lost their two previous group games to Australia and Germany. They needed a win against the Europeans to secure the third position and hope to qualify as one of the third-best best losers of the preliminary group stage.
Italy set the pace as they won the first quarter 29-17 but Nigeria recovered to win the second quarter 22-11 with the score at 40-39 for the Italians at the break.
D’Tigers braced up to dominate the game and won the third quarter 24-16, and then going into the lead for the first time in the game with scores at 63-56.
However, just as it happened in the last game against Germany, D’Tigers collapsed in the fourth quarter with poor defence and a weakened offensive play. Italy got the last quarter 24-8 aholding on to the buzzer.
Metu Chimezie led the scoring for D’Tigers shooting 22 points; followed by Jordan Nwora with 20 points.
The Italians finished their group state campaign with two wins and a loss.