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Tokyo 2020: D’Tigers’ heart not large enough

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Nigeria men’s basketball team, D’Tigers have suffered a second consecutive defeat at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a 99-92 victory by Germany.

They played gallantly and looked like reversing their opening game loss to Australia, but they fell part in the fourth and final quarter of the game played at the Saitama Super Arena.

Trailing by three in the first quarter which the Germans won by 24-21, the D’Tigers fought gamely and won the second quarter by 29-26.

With that, both sides were tied at 50-50 at half time. They went ahead to tie the third quarter at 24-24 taking the scores to 74-74 going into the final quarter!

The final quarter was going to be decisive as both teams had lost their opening matches. Nigeria lost to Australia while the Germans were beaten by Italy.

In the final quarter, Nigeria at a time led with as much as twelve points but didn’t do enough defensively, giving away fouls the Germans easily converted from the free throw line.

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The duo of Miye Oni and Jordan Nwora led the scoring for Nigeria with their three pointers gathering 15 and 33 points respectively.

A late surge from D’Tigers was not enough as Germany got their first win of the competition. Nigeria will play Italy next on Saturday as their chances of qualifying for the next round now hangs in the balance.

With the victory, the German team reached its first victory at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the top of Group B in the men’s sport.

The Germans passed Italy and Australia and sank Nigeria to the bottom of the group with only two points.

But the teams of Australia and Italy will still face each other in the round and can regain the lead.

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Nigeria and Germany return to the courts next Saturday. . Nigeria faces Italy at the Saitama Super Arena, while the Germans face Australia at the same place.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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