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 By Obi Martins Okafor.
The victorious Nigerian basketball team. Photo:
It was a case of just doing enough to secure a sweet victory for the Nigerian Basketball team, D’Tigers. In the early hours of the Sunday morning, D’ Tigers took to the court to face the Tunisian Basketball team. The game which ended with Nigeria on the winning end saw Alade Aminu scoring 15 points and nine rebounds while Ike Diogu added 13 points and 10 rebounds as Nigeria just beat Tunisia 60-56 in the opening game of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament. Al-Farouq Aminu, who played for the NBA New Orleans Hornets last season, added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Nigerians, who have not lost to reigning African champion, Tunisia in an international competition since 1987. Both African sides in the London line-up were both making their Olympic debut in the Group A round-robin contest. The top four teams in each of two groups advance to the medal playoffs. Nigeria was the last team to qualify for the Olympics, having beaten the Dominican Republic in the qualifying tournament decider to advance after upsetting Greece earlier in that event. Only three Nigerian players were born in the African nation. The others, including former NBA San Antonio Spur, Diogu, were born in the United States but are of Nigerian heritage. Tunisian captain Amine Rzig scored 18 points in a losing cause. The Nigerians seized their largest lead at 29-10 on the way to a 31-15 half-time advantage before Tunisia rallied, scoring 25 points in the fourth quarter and pulling within 56-54 in the final seconds on a Mourad El Mabrouk three-pointer. With basketball superpowers like the U.S.A, Argentina and Lithuania still to be played, the victory will surely serve as a confident booster for the Bakare led team in subsequent matches.

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This article was first published on 30th July 2012 and updated on August 1st, 2012 at 1:23 pm

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