D’Tigers will be aiming to record their first win at the 2022 FIBA World Cup African Qualifiers when they face Guinea on Saturday in Abidjan, Saturday PUNCH reports.
The Nigerian team lost 66-78 to Ivory Coast on Friday night at the 3,500 capacity Palais des Sports Treichville putting their qualification hopes for next year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in question.
Friday’s clash was the third between both teams in recent times with the Ivorians leading 2-1 in the head-to-head record.
D’Tigers continued their trend of poor starts as they have lost the opening game in each of the three last qualifying windows in the African qualifiers.
Mike Brown’s men headed into the series of games in Ivory Coast with the crisis in Nigeria basketball finally put to bed.
With the head coach, Brown, not with the team in Abidjan, Mfon Udofia stood in for the Sacramento Kings head coach.
D’Tigers lost their first game of the first window to eventual group leaders Cape Verde 79-71, and also lost their first game of the second window 79-70 to the same opposition to finish with two wins from four games.
But things didn’t get better for Brown’s men at Palais des Sports de Treichville on Friday as the home side dominated the game from the beginning to the end.
Ivory Coast came into this game on the back of a 65-56 win over Guinea in their last game while Nigeria sit in fifth place on the group table with only six points having won two and lost two out of four games. They went into the game on the back of a 91-72 win over Uganda in their last outing.
D’Tigers however failed to build on their last victory as the Ivorians proved too hot for them to handle.
With less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter with the score at 74-66, things got tensed between both teams. The hosts however kept their cool and scored four more points before the end of the game.
The win means Ivory Coast have won their seven games in the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, conceding fewer than 75 points in each of those games.
They have won their last 11 games in the African Qualifiers – the longest winning sequence of any team in all regions in the competition. However, their last defeat came against Nigeria, in September 2018 (73-84).