A poor start by D’Tigers, further compounded by the early loss of inspirational player Olaseni Lawal to injury, on Sunday ensured a 66-94 loss to Argentina at the Rio Olympics.
The Nigerian male basketball side were playing in their second Olympics, yet they never played like the African champions they are as they crashed to the South Americans.
In their opening Group B game at the Carioca 1 Arena, D’Tigers failed to raise their game in three-quarters of the match to consequently endure a costly opening loss.
They lost the opening quarter 15-22 and were very poor in the second on the way to a 16-28 loss that saw them missing many three-point shots and conceding many.
Overall, Argentina converted 44 percent of their attempts while Nigeria could only convert 16 percent.
They were, however, better in the two-point shots, converting 54 percent of theirs while their opponents utilized 47 percent of theirs.
The D’Tigers also well utilized their free throws, scoring 82 percent of the ones they won, while the Argentines converted 68 percent of theirs.
This did tell on the third quarter play when D’Tigers lost only by 19-22.
Facundo Campazzo was, however, outstanding for the Argentines, scoring 19 points and scooping three rebounds.
Ike Diogu was equally outstanding for D’Tigers with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Nigeria now stays bottom of the group, with Argentina topping and Lithuania in second place after an 82-76 defeat of hosts Brazil.
Croatia also beat Spain 72-70 to stay in third place, with Spain fourth and Brazil fifth.
Nigeria will now take on Lithuania on Tuesday, and will be needing a victory if it is to emerge among the group’s best four for a place in the quarter-finals.