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Sports News of Friday, 19 February 2021

Source: The Guardian

D’Tigers continue 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers unbeaten run, face Mali today

Nigeria continued its dominance on the continent with another emphatic 64-51 points win over Rwanda at the ongoing 2021 FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers in Tunisia.

The hard-fought win came on the heels of a solid defensive display in the second half against a stubborn Rwandan team, who led for the better part of the game.

It was all about Keith Omoerah, who led the scorers chart scoring 13 points and six rebounds, while debutant Abdul-Malik Abu came off the bench to contribute nine points, three rebounds and one steal as D’Tigers reaffirmed its dominance on the continent.
Rwanda, hosts of the next Afrobasket, came out smoking in the first half outscoring Nigeria 22-14, 9-16 to head into half time with a 31-30 points advantage.

D’Tigers turned up the heat and brought their experience to bear in the second half with some impressive defensive and offensive work to neutralize their opponents (14-10, 20-10) and close out the game. 

Chima Moneke continued his fairytale run with the team scoring eight points, eight rebounds and four steals, while Ike Iroegbu dropped 9nine points and caught seven rebounds.

In his post-match conference, stand-in Head Coach, Mfon Udofia praised his team for their resilience. 
He told journalists that the victory was a pointer to the overall quality of the team with the bench contributing a total of three points and eight assists. 
“It’s a tale of two halves. We came out after a slow start; we picked it up, settled down, got stops and got the win.” 

One of the most experienced players in the team, Ben Uzoh said he never expected Rwanda to just roll over and give the team an easy passage. 

“Every time we take to the court, especially here in Africa, everybody wants to give us their best shots. Hats off to the way Rwanda played in the first half, but hats off more for us to regroup during the half time and come out to really play Nigerian basketball. I am glad we came out victorious”.

With the 2021 Afrobasket ticket already secured, Nigeria sits pretty atop Group B and will face Mali today with a win as top priority in its quest to conclude the series unbeaten.  

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