NIGERIA’S senior national men’s basketball team D’tigers made history in the early hours of Sunday when they defeated the U.S. national men’s team 90-87 in a pre-Olympic exhibition game in Las Vegas, U.S.
This is the first time the U.S. national men’s team would be losing to an African country.
The landmark victory came nine years after the U.S. team beat Nigeria 156-73 at the London Olympics, the U.S.’ biggest win in Olympic men’s basketball history.
The Nigerian team, led by Head Coach Mike Brown, were highly competitive in the game, boasting eight players with vast experiences in U.S. NBA club sides.
Nigeria’s Gabe Vincent of U.S. Miami Heats led the floor for D’tigers with 21 points, while Kelvin Durant led the floor for the U.S. side with 17 points.
“I’m kind of glad it happened,” said U.S. head coach Gregg Popovich, noting that Nigeria had been practising together since late June and the Americans for four days.
“That loss means nothing if we don’t learn from it, but it can be the most important thing in this tournament for us to learn lessons from it,” Popovich added.
Meanwhile, the immediate-past Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki has congratulated the Nigerian team on their historic win.
Tweeting on his Twitter handle @BukolaSaraki, he wrote: “Impressive performance by our Men’s Basketball Team, D’Tigers! Coming back from a 10-point deficit against Team USA — it’s great to see how much they have all grown individually and collectively!
“Let’s take this great form to the Olympics.”
The exhibition game was put together to fine-tune both team’s preparations for the forth-coming basketball event in the Summer Olympics, holding in Tokyo, Japan.