June 22, 2012 – Nigeria’s senior national basketball team, D’Tigers yesterday in Houston, Texas, USA, shocked Team Great Britain in a build up game for the Olympic basketball qualifiers which is scheduled for Venezuela from 2-8 July.
The Ayo Bakare-tutored side got the best out of the British team with 86-80 points defeat in overtime. Britain put in a rusty performance best summed up by the fact they only shot 40 per cent from the floor. They trailed in the second quarter but blew a late lead as the Nigerians fought back to force overtime.
Young British guard, Andrew Lawrence, top-scored with 19 points and Eric Boateng added 13 as NBA star Luol Deng and Pops Mensah Bonsu both sat out.
After slipping nine points behind in the second quarter Britain rallied in the third, inspired by Lawrence’s long range shooting – he was 4 from 6 from three-point range – to lead by the same margin.
The fourth quarter, in front of a 200-strong crowd at the Texan city’s Baptist University, was a tense one with the British team trying to protect their two-point lead as time expired.
But with one second remaining Nigeria’s Tony Skinn levelled the game at 70-70.
Both sides played with passion and intensity but Nigeria’s hunger – they still have a chance to qualify for the Olympics – proved decisive and they dominated the extra period.