By Bamidele Boluwaji: Nigeria’s D’Tigers have emerged the leaders of Group B of the first round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Africa Qualifiers after beating host nation Mali 82-59 in their third game of the series in Bamako on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerians, coached by Alex Nwora, ended the first quarter with a wide margin of 21-5 points against the Malians.
The second quarter was more difficult for the Nigerians who featured at the last Olympic Games in Brazil as the Malians got their strategy right to stop the rampaging D’Tigers. The quarter finished at 16-16 points to end the first half 37-21 points in favour of Nigeria.
The third quarter which signaled the commencement of the second half was also tough for D’Tigers who struggled to avoid a deficit but the home team still managed to lead by a point, ending the period with 21-20 points against Nigeria.
Captain Ike Diogu doubled his efforts to ensure Nigeria dominate the last quarter and with the efforts of both Obekpa and Efevberha, the team was able to win the quarter with 25-17 points to close the game at 82-59.
Diogu contributed 22 points, Obekpa added 10 rebounds while Efevberha produced eight assists in the game.
With the three victories in a row, Nigeria will now go into the next round of qualifiers with six points.
The next round holds in June and Nigeria is likely to hold the FIBA World Cup qualifier which will also feature Nigeria, Uganda, Mali and Rwanda.