Ben Emelogu registered 18 points and 8 rebounds as 2015 Afrobasket champions, D’Tigers of Nigeria began their Afrobasket campaign with an impressive 81-73 win over Mali, in Kigali, Rwanda.
Nigeria opened the game with a 28-12 lead in the 1st, after that Mali came stronger in the second quarter, capitalizing on D’Tigers offensive dip, they scored 31 points to Nigeria’s 16, reducing the latter’s lead to just 1 before half-time.
Uzodinma Utomi totalled 15 points, shooting 5/10 from beyond the arc. Ikenna Ndugba did not only score 8 points, he was just one short of recording double figures in assists, adding 9.
6ft7 American-Nigerian basketball player, Stephen George Domingo added 16 points, shooting 6/16 from the field.
Nigeria, who were without all of the players that made the Tokyo Olympics roster, started the 3rd quarter courageously, putting 27 points past Mali. Their explosive 3rd quarter performance was enough, as late Mali fightback proved abortive.
Malian Benke Diarouma was the only player with double figures in points and rebounds (11pts 11rbs).
Up next, D’Tigers will be up against Kenya who beat Africa’s 11-time champion Angola 74-73 in the AfroBasket 2021 qualification in Yaoundé, Cameroon.