D’Tigers of Nigeria produced a stunning performance as they defeated the US team 90-87 in a preparatory tourney ahead of Tokyo Olympics.
They became the first African team ever to beat the Americans in a basketball game.
The trio of Precious Achiuwa, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Agada imposed themselves on the game with impressive displays throughout.
Achiuwa led in the defensive play, particularly stoping Kelvin Durant’s slam dunk attempt in the first quarter.
Vincent led Nigeria in scoring with 21 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
He was followed by Agada, who had 17 points, three rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes, and Ike Nwamu finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes.
Ike Ireogbu also shone with 11 points.
Kevin Durant led the Americans with 17 points while Jayson Tatum hustled 15 and Damian Lillard hit 14.
After the game, an elated Vincent credited the impressive performance to the squad cohesion built by Mike Brown, the head coach.
“Mike’s done a great job with us so far. We’ve had a great camp so far. We had to build a new culture, start from the ground up, new plays, new everything. We’ve got a lot of new guys in,” he said.
“It’s different when you’re playing for a country. Right now, we’re representing the continent. It means the world to us, and I hope we showed it here tonight.
“It’s just all the work we put in; It’s no mistake what happened here tonight.
“We knew what it was. We’ve all seen them play at the highest level and make huge shots. We knew what came with that, and we just had to make plays.”
The victory over the US comes a few hours after Brown assured that D’Tigers are going to the Olympics “to win”.
However, the team’s kits for the Games are still trapped at a seaport in Lagos.
Nigeria is in group B alongside Australia, Italy and Germany.
The Olympics will take place from July 23 to August 8, and the basketball event will begin on the third day.
Provided by BONA NAIJA