Nigeria’s D’Tigers beat Uganda 91-72 in their last Group A game of the first round of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers in Kigali, Rwanda.
Metu was pivotal for Nigeria at both ends of the floor. He scored 25 points and 10 rebounds with 4/4 from the line in 35 minutes.
Benjamin Emelogu added 19 points, five rebounds and three assists. He shot 5/10 from behind the arc and also made 100% from the free throw line.
Uche Iroegbu also contributd 16 points, eight assists while christian Mekowulu had 10 points and three rebounds
D’Tigers had an 18 point lead at half time after they outscored Uganda 29-18.
Uganda came out blazing in the second half as they piled a lot of pressure on the D’Tigers. Both sides scored same scoreline at the end of the third quarter 24-24.
The East African side found a way to cut down Nigeria’s lead from 18 to 11 with 3:05 remaining on the clock (81-70) but Nigeria made a 10-2 run to seal the victory over Uganda.
During the post game press conference D’Tigers coach Alan Major expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance against Uganda.
“Today makes it nine days since we have been together and for the guys that sacrificed their time to throw their hearts into this even with the tough loss two days ago and then the next day we were not sure we going to play against Mali.
“I am so proud of my team and the maturity they showed with great leadership it was just fun to get the win and finish on a high.
Ahead of the next round which starts in August, Major said:”The most important thing for Nigeria is a lot of things begin to heal. There has been a lot of pain, frustration and suffering on both sides for some time now. Like i told them in the locker room to be the best representation of what Nigeria is about especially this precious time. With the ban lifted that caused the tight schedule, hopefully preparation will be better in the next window.”
Cape Verde, Nigeria and Uganda are the three teams through to the second round from Group A following Mali’s disqualification from the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
These three teams will join nine other teams in the second round. They will be grouped into two groups of six teams each and games will be played in two windows.
Top two teams from the two groups and the third best team will qualify for the FIBA World Cup 2023 scheduled to take place in Philippines, Japan and Indonesia who are joint host of the basketball showpiece.