Captain Ike Diogu and point guard Omotayo Ogundiran both scored 19 points apiece to hand D’Tigers a hard-fought 72-70 win over Mali at the ongoing 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers Window 1 on Saturday in Angola.
Nigeria needed to bounce back from their loss to Cape Verde on Friday and despite the nervy start, they led 16-15 at the end of the first quarter.
However, the Nigerians were blown away by a commanding performance from the Malians in the second quarter with the West African side winning by 10 points 24-14, heading into the half-time break with a nine-point lead 39-30.
D’Tigers cut down the deficit in the third quarter winning 23-16 while a nervy finish to the game saw them take the final quarter 19-15.
Diogu and Ogundiran led the team in scoring with 19 points each while Diogu contributed six rebounds. Ben Uzoh added 11 points and made the most assists in the game (7).
Nigeria had 46.88 per cent from two points field goals compared to Mali’s 52.5 percent. D’Tigers dominated their opponent from beyond the arc converting 42.11 per cent from three points field goals compared to Mali’s 24 per cent.