Nigeria men’s basketball team, D’Tigers ended a two-match winning streak in their Tokyo Olympics preparation series with a defeat to Australia Wednesday morning.
Both teams will be meeting at the group stage of the Games in Tokyo as Nigeria, Australia, Italy and Germany were drawn in group B.
D’Tigers had had a superb week, becoming the first African team to beat world number one team USA over the weekend and going on to thrash world number four side, Argentina early Tuesday.
In the game against Australia, the Mike Brown squad did not look to be in their best, perhaps saving their energy for when they face the Australians proper in Tokyo.
The Nigerian squad wore a shirt with inscription of late music artiste Sound Sultan, and the entire arena held a minute of silence just before the game kicked off, in honour of the singer who died after battling cancer.
But the team trailed from the first quarter of the game, losing 13-26 to the Australians. And by the end of the first half, Nigeria were 29-49 behind.
The Australians, who are believed to be understrenght, went on to take the third quarter and also the fourth quarter to seal a massive 108-69 points win over Nigeria.
Chris Goulding’s 21 points led Australia as Dante Exum added six points, three rebounds, and five assists, while Josh Okogie and Obi Emegano each scored 10 points to lead Nigeria.
Recall that D’Tigers had 90 points against the United States, and scored 94 against Argentina. But Australia, who tallied 10 steals and four blocks, held the Mike Brown men to just 69 in a fantastic display.
The Boomers of Australia are thus making a huge statement ahead of the Tokyo Olympics which begins 23 July, having also beaten the United States in another exhibition game last Tuesday.
D’Tigers will be leaving the shores of the USA next week Wednesday, 19 July for Tokyo, and will face Australia again in their opening fixture in Tokyo on 25 July.