Hosts Ivory Coast outclassed D’Tigers 78-66 to win the opening game of window four of the FIBA 2023 World Cup qualifiers at the Palais des Sports des Treichville in Abidjan on Friday.
Both teams were squared 14-14 at the end of the first quarter but the Ivorians took the next three quarters 28-22, 18-16 and 18-14 to avenge their 2019 World Cup qualifying loss to D’Tigers in a game that ended 84-73 in September of 2018.
Phoenix Suns shooting guard, Josh Okogie, led Nigeria in scoring with 23 points while adding 10 rebounds, two assists, five steals and one block as Sacramento Kings forward, Chimezie Metu, led the team in rebounds, getting 11 boards, while also contributing 20 points.
Ivory Coast’s Vafessa Fofana was the best performer in the game scoring 25 points and 11 rebounds in the game. He shot 87.5% from the two-point line while shooting 42.9% from beyond the arc. Alexander Antoine Poythress scored 12 points for the Ivoriens and had 100% success from the free throw line.
Nigeria will face Guinea in their second game of the qualifying tournament on Saturday. Guinea lost 65-48 to Cape Verde in their opening encounter on Friday.
Window 4 marks the start of the Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers. The fifth and final Window of the African Qualifiers will take place in February 2023.
The teams that finish in the first and second places of each group will qualify automatically for next year’s World Cup to be staged in Indonesia, Japan, and Philippines. The national team that finishes with the best third-place result will secure the fifth and last spot for African teams for the World Cup.