D’Tigers’ dream of featuring at the 2024 Olympics in Paris have been crushed after crashing out of the ongoing FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Lagos after losing their second group game 77-68 to Mali.
The result means the Nigerians are out of a race to win the Pre-Qualifying Tournament which would have qualified them for the Olympics Qualifying Tournament for Paris 2024 next year.
Despite winning the first three-quarters of the game, D’Tigers crumbled in the fourth, losing 24-7 as the Malians overturned an eight-point deficit to win by nine at the end of the game.
Nigeria lost their opening game against Senegal in a similar fashion on Monday, failing to correct their mistakes.
The result would be disappointing, especially for Uche Ireogbu who for the second consecutive game scored a game-high 26 points, five rebounds, and four assists. He contributed 24 points in the loss to Senegal. Daniel Utomi was the only other D’Tigers player to contribute double figures in points (16).
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The win, the first for Mali over Nigeria in at least 11 games was a collective effort. Four players from the team recorded double figures in points. Small forward Fousseyni Drame had a double-double in the encounter scoring 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Shooting guard Hassan Drame had 14 points, Ibrahim Djambo had 12 points while guard Mahamadou Kante contributed 10 points to the win.