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AfroBasket: Despite scoring 31 points, Mike Nuga rues missed winning shot

AfroBasket: Despite scoring 31 points, Mike Nuga rues missed winning shot

Mike Nuga, the standout player for D’Tigers during their 2025 FIBA Afrobasket qualifying opening match against Libya says he regrets the final shot he missed, which could have secured victory for Nigeria at the buzzer in regulation time.

Nuga had a game-high 31 points shooting 7/12 from beyond the arc coupled with eight rebounds and five assists. 

Also read: AfroBasket qualifiers: Brave D’Tigers suffer 89-82 loss to Libya in overtime

The guard, originally from Canada and an alum of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, currently playing for Caceres in the Spanish second-division basketball league, lamented his missed opportunity to clinch victory when the game was tied at 75-75. He admitted that he should have capitalized on that chance.

Mike Nuga in action against Libya

“It always hurt to lose, but I’m proud of our effort. We arrived just this morning so I’m proud of the guys with the effort they put in. There are some things we need to clean up, but you win some and lose some. We lost at the buzzer, I should have made the shot but we played with our heart,” Nuga told the press at the post-game press conference

Nuga also insisted that Libya outbounding D’Tigers was key to their victory. The North African side had a total of 51 rebounds to Nigeria’s 42 and led the offensive rebound tally 23-15.

“I just thought we got outrebounded especially on the offensive board and were able to get more points on us. I think we did a good job on defense after we started slow, but the rebound game made the difference.”

Mike Nuga

Echoing Nuga’s sentiment, head coach Abdulrahman Mohammed attributed the loss partly to the team’s inability to limit Libya’s offensive rebounds, emphasizing the importance of defensive rebounds in thwarting opponents’ scoring opportunities.

 “We gave too much opportunity to the opponent to get offensive rebounds and when you do that against a confident team like Libya coming off two back-to-back wins, you’re going to get punished. The rebounds hurt us.”

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