Road to Rio: D’Tigers Down Central African Republic at Afrobasket

Nigeria men’s senior basketball national team, D’Tigers, got their Africa Basketball Championship (Afrobasket) campaign off to a winning start against the Central African Republic in Tunisia on Wednesday.

Al-Farouk Aminu notched up 15 points; eight rebounds, but it was Chamberlain Oguchi who inspired the West Africans to an 88-63 win over the Central African Republic in Rades.

Only Jamal Olasewere was left out of D’Tigers’ score board as every other Nigerian player who managed to squeak their way down the coast got among the scores.

The CAF’s undoing could be attributed to their poor field goal turnover (30%), as Nigeria exerted their giant status by topping the rebound scores 51-24.

Having being drawn in Group A, which has defending champions and hosts Tunisia, debutants Uganda and the CAF, Nigeria needed to make an immediate statement of intent; especially judging by the fact that their last outing at the biennial championship never went as plan.

Nigeria's Mike Umeh Goes for a Basket against the Central African Republic. Image Credit: twitter/NigeriaBasket
Nigeria’s Mike Umeh Goes for a Basket against the Central African Republic. Image Credit: twitter/NigeriaBasket

But having Oguchi back in the fold proved the game-changing move of the day for the 2012 Olympians, with the point guard’s 4 for 7 shooting from behind the arc, complimented by a perfect record (2/2) on the free-throw line propelling the side at critical moments during the game. He ended the match with 14 points.

A Johan Grebongo three-point shot helped the CAF claim a 29-27 lead midway through the second quarter, but Oguchi came up with some trick of his own, recording two consecutive three-pointers to hand Nigeria a 49-35 lead at the break.

Nigeria led 69-47 at the end of the third quarter, with the like of Michael Umeh already on double, double figures en route to a 13 shots; 2 rebounds flourish, owing largely to his terrific moves across the paint.

Alade Aminu added 11 points; 10 rebounds, while Olaseni Lawal came up with 14 points. Andy Ogide complimented with 12 points; 8 rebounds.

Destin Damachoua led the CAF with 15 points.

Nigeria will face Uganda on Friday, 21 August, before Sunday’s all-important clash with Tunisia.