By Amosu Adeboye
Nigeria’s D’Tigers put up a brave fight but fell to a 82-77 defeat to Russia in their opening game of the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup in China on Saturday morning.
Josh Okogie emerged as the top scorer with 18 points for D’Tigers. But his heroic showing wasn’t enough at the end as the the gallant Nigerian team lost their first Group B match.
D’Tigers took an early 4-0 lead at the start of the game, but the Russians soon overpowered them, then going on a 10 point run.
Alex Nwora’s charges trailed 18-13 at the end of the first quarter as they struggled offensively in the game.
Despite their spirited fight, the Nigerians still trail 25-17 at the end of second quarter.
At the end of the first half, Russia led 40-35.
D’Tigers however put up a good fight in the third quarter levelling scores at 58-58
They controlled the opening exchanges in the fourth quarter and led 60-58 at a point in the game. With four minutes left, the West Africans led the Russians 71-68.
The Russians rallied back with score levelled at 75-75 with less than a minute left.
It was however the Europeans who prevailed winning it 82-77.
D’Tigers will look to beat Argentina in their next Group B match to stand a chance of progressing.