Nigeria’s senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, on Wednesday beat Mali 81-73 in their opening match of the ongoing 2021 Afrobasket Championship in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Nigerian side, who were without most of their NBA stars paraded at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, got off to a good start winning the first quarter 28-12.
Captained by Stephen Domingo of Lakeland Magic in the U.S. G-League, the team showed glimpses of a side thirsty for a win with some quick fast-breaks.
The Malian team however rallied back in the second quarter to win it at 31-16, to go into half time just a point behind at 43-44.
On resumption of the third quarter, D’Tigers upped their game to win 27-10 for a 71-53 lead.
The Malians again showed they were no push-overs, coming strong in the fourth quarter to win it 20-10.
But it was a little too late for them as the D’Tigers won the highly entertaining encounter 81-73.
D’Tigers who are the number one-ranked team in Africa are in Group C alongside Mali, Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire.
Their next match is against Kenya on Friday at the same venue, the Kigali Arena.
The 2021 AfroBasket which started on Tuesday ends on September 5.