Rivers Hoopers on Friday were beaten 72-68 by Nigeria Customs at the indoor Sports Hall, National Stadium, Lagos.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, leading 17-11 at the end of the first quarter despite missing most of their free throw opportunities.
Customs gradually got back into the game midway through the second quarter maximising their 3-point shooting to devastating effect thus, ending the second quarter 31-39.
On the other hand, Hoopers continually failed to utilise the free throws until the game was tied at 54 all in the third quarter (54-54).
The Hoopers slumped in the final quarter as they were only able to get 14 points, earning 6 points from 3 pointers by Victor James and Desmond Bodisowei the only times they had it all game long.
After the game, Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu said the game was decided by the decision made by the two teams.
“They have Baba Jubril, Zanna and Emmanuel Balogun who have been around for a very long time so they capitalised on that experience. You could see the decision making on both teams was quite different. Customs were making smart decisions while we were taking terrible decisions. It was the decision making and it all boils down to experience but I am confident we will get better as the league continues,” said Odaudu.
Some fans questioned why he lacked a Steph Curry-like player in his team but the former Islanders coach said he is not bothered about it.
“If I’m not mistaken, I had a couple of players who shot 3 points during the game. Having a 3-point shooter is not a factor at all, 3 point doesn’t win games it’s about how many basket you make. You can win a game without actually making one 3 pointer.” emphasized Odaudu who proceeded in giving a detailed reason why his team lost.
“Let me tell you how we lost the game. If you go back and check in the stats we missed something in the range of 15-23 throws and we lost by 4 points. So do you think it’s a 3 point shooter that made us lose the game? No. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, everybody coaches in his own different way. The way I coach has never let me down and I am not about to change it now. I will keep doing what I do.” Odaudu submitted.
On his part, Customs coach Scott Nnaji was excited to start the season with a win.
“We are happy we started well we have been expecting to play this game we will still play them next tomorrow we will go back and correct the mistakes made in the game,” Nnaji said.
The D’Tigress coach explained why his team started slowly in the game.
“The major problem is we didn’t have friendlies just few training, we have not played together with all the new players you see on the court. This is the first time, I have some rookies, I have some old ones and the ones that started, started with fouls which made us go back to the bench and use the new ones till we got to the final quarter, ” Nnaji concluded.
Rivers Hoopers will stay in Lagos to face Customs again on Sunday in Game 2 of the 2015/ 2016 DSTV Basketball League.