The Nigerian senior men’s basketball team have failed to retain the FIBA Afrobasket Champions title after they were bested by co-host Tunisia on Saturday at the jam-packed 12,000 capacity Salle Omnisports de Rades Gymnasium.
Tunisia hosted the tournament for the third time this year; in 1987 and in 2015 where D’ Tigers won the title. The team went through the tournament unbeaten and made it into the finals for the first time as hosts.
D’Tigers who lost only once until the finals started out the game quite resolute, ending the first quarter 6 points ahead of the Tunisians at 14-8.
Rather, keep up the pace the defending champions were remiss, and at the end of the second quarter, the Tunisians gained a 1 point lead with a cumulative score of 24-25 points.
D’Tigers tried to get back in the game but top performer for the Tunisian side Ziyed Chennoufi throbbed the Nigerian side of the court rigorously in the third quarter solidifying their lead at 40-52 points in favour of Tunisia.
D’Tigers’ drive, however, paid off in the fourth quarter ending it in a stalemate 25-25 points, but this was not enough as the Tunisians already had a 12 point lead and went ahead to take the continental title for the second time in six years; Afrobasket Champions.
The top performers in the game were Nigerian Skipper Ike Diogu with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, and an efficiency of +22, and Ziyed Chennoufi for Tunisia with 19 Points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 0 blocks and an efficiency of +22.
Despite the loss, D’Tigers ended the tournament on a good note as the highest scoring team.
Meanwhile, Senegal edged Morocco 73-62 points in their match-up and finished the tournament in third place.