By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigeria paved the way for the 2020 Olympic Games with a 83-66 victory over Ivory Coast in 2019 FIBA World Cup Group M action at Guangzhou on Friday. The two African national teams tipped off their two-game run in the classification round for spots between 17th and 32nd.
Nnamdi Vincent led the charge with 15 points and Ekpe Udoh put up 13 points. Al-Farouq Aminu also notched 13 points and after the game reminded his team’s goal: “We were knocked out of contention for a medal, but we have to make sure we qualify to the Olympic Games.”
Unicaja Malaga’s Deon Thompson scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in losing effort. “Our shot selection gave them the opportunity to jump out to a 10-point lead” he took out in the post-game press conference.
Alexander Nwora’s side dropped an early double-digit lead, but held on after the hot start to the second half. A 10-0 third-quarter run landed the Nigerians a 51-38 advantage, more than enough for the “W”.
The D’Tigers improved to 2-2 dropping their African rivals to 0-4. The best-placed African side in the classification round will directly punch an Olympic ticket, while the 16 best-placed national teams aside the 8 gaining an Olympic berth will compete in the 2020 Olympic qualifiers.
On Sunday, Nigeria will collide with hosts China. “The last game will be a very good test for us” said head coach Nwora.
Ivory Coast will wrap up its World Cup run battling South Korea.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL