Nigeria bounced back against Korea to record its first win 108-66 points at the ongoing FIBA World Cup holding in China.
The win after 2 previous attempts and losses to Russia and Argentina was enough to put the team in contention to pick the 2020 Olympics sole automatic ticket on offer for Africa.
The team who were fired up minutes before the game by the NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida shot to the lead seconds to the end of first quarter courtesy of a last gasp 2 points layup from Ike Iroegbu to win the quarter, 17-15 points.
Second quarter also ended in similar fashion as D’Tigers extended their lead to 18 points to end the first half 49-31 points.
Michael Eric was the top performer of the night with 17points and 9 rebounds to lead Nigeria’s 42-point win which became the highest point margin against a non-African opponent.
Captain, Ike Diogu also put in a sterling performance with 16 points and 6 rebounds while Chimezie Metu with 15 points was the highest rebounder of the day with 9.
Speaking at the post match conference, Head Coach, Alex Nwora said finally getting the win and getting their 2020 Olympics qualification back on track was comforting.
“Korea was good, but we were taller and we used that to our advantage. On the court, our tactics worked out well and I must commend my players for a job well done.”
With mixed feelings, Nwora said: “We didn’t come to the World Cup just to fight for the Olympics ticket. We came with the mindset of a podium finish, but sadly we could not achieve this. We are happy to be back in the race for the Olympics.”
The coach said the lessons have been learnt as attention has now shifted to the classification games to be decided in Guangzhou.