D’Tigers defeat Mali as Afrobasket starts in Kigali

Nigeria’s D’Tigers started their 2021 Afrobasket championship on a winning note beating Mali 81-73.

The win which was the first after its last win against Argentina in the run up to the 2020 Olympics saw a new Nigerian team captained by Stephen Domingo bagging the maximum points.

After running to a 28-12pts lead in the first quarter, turnovers and poor shooting saw the Malians coming back within a touching distance.

D’Tigers were able to cling to a 44-43points lead heading into halftime.

Third quarter saw the Mike Brown inspired side shooting to a 71-53pts lead as they did enough to hold off the Malians in the fourth quarter to close out the game.

Benjamin Emelogu who helped the team with 18pts, 4 assists and 8 rebounds had an amazing day on the court posting a 60% accuracy from the three point line from10 attempts.

Domingo who was recently with the San Antonio Spurs during the NBA Summer League added 16pts, 5 assists and 5 rebounds.

Uzodinma Utomi scored 15pts while TK Edogi was the highest rebounder for the team with a total of 12 and contributing 5pts offensively in the game.

Speaking after the game, Brown praised his players for holding their heads above the waters in the first game against a typical physical African team.

He said, “We have to take care of the ball better, we can’t foul. Teams are going to get beat; teams are going to get upset. What you do is just learn from it and hopefully grow from it.”

Nigeria will face Kenya in their next game on Friday.