NB247

The Nigerian men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, have crashed out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after losing 71-80 to Italy on Saturday.

They earlier suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Australia 67-84 in their first Group B game.

They also lost to Germany 92-99 in their second Group B match. They were expected to beat Italy to revive the hopes of staying in the competition but instead allowed Italy win the slot at the quarter finals.

The D’Tigers had started well against the Italians, after taking the first two points, before the Italians rallied and began to dominate the game for 29-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Nigeria, however, pulled off a stunning comeback as the Italians struggled to keep up with the pace of the D’Tigers for a 40-39 at the end of the second quarter.

Nigeria led 63-56 after three quarters, and even saw their lead increased before the fourth quarter resumed.

Italy’s Michele Vitali had drawn a technical for trying to slap the ball away before the start of the fourth quarter.

So, before the 10-minute clock even started, Nigeria’s seven-point lead increased to an eight-point edge.

But D’Tigers suddenly lost steam and did not score for nearly seven minutes afterwards.

Nicolo Melli scored 15 points, Nico Mannion had 14 and Italy used a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to rally and beat Nigeria 80-71 in the Group B finale for both teams.

Achille Polonara added 13, Simone Fontecchio scored 12 and Stefano Tonut finished with 10 for Italy (2-1).

Chimezie Metu scored 22 points and Jordan Nwora added 20, while Jahlil Okafor scored 14 points.

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