Dakar, Senegal Sept16th: The Nigeria senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers, have qualified for the final of the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket championship following their hard-earned 76-71 win over Senegal in a semi-final encounter on Friday night. Though they were stretched, D’Tigers were on top of their game as they won three of the four quarters in Friday’s semifinal clash.
Even as Senegal made the first few droppings after the jump ball, at the end of the first quarter, D’Tigers established a-15-12 points lead over their opponents.
The second and third quarters were also fiercely contested but the Nigerian men nicked it at 19-17 and 18-16. Nigeria won the second quarter 34-29.
D’Tigers still led 18-16 points at the end of the third quarter while Senegal managed to pick 26 points more than Nigeria’s 24 points at the end of the last quarter. While Senegal won the final quarter 26-24, it was not enough to deny Nigeria a place in the final.
Senegal were trying to reach the final for the first time since 2005; but they were denied yet again this time by D’Tigers who are keen on successfully defending the title they won two year ago.
Nigeria’s match against Senegal was tagged ‘final before final’ by fans of African basketball and it proved its tag.
D’Tigers captain, Ike Diogu, ignited the D’Tigers at both ends of the floor, emerging top performer for Nigeria, having scored 17 points, 14 rebounds, one assist and a steal.
“We played hard for forty minutes. All the guys from 2015 team have been cheering us on, and give us information. We know this is a massive win,” said Diogu, who watched Nigeria’s FIBA AfroBasket 2015 coronation from the sidelines after suffering a leg injury just days before the start of the competition.
D’Tigers are expected to defend their 2015 victory on Saturday in a final match against Tunisia, who jointly host the competition with Senegal
Photo: 2017 FIBA Afrobasket: D’Tigers Beat Senegal To Set Up Final Against Tunisia
Tunisia earlier won their semi-final encounter against Morocco 60-52 points to book a place in the final.
Tunisia forward Mohamed Hadidane on Friday came up with a performance for the ages as they beat Morocco 60-52 and set up a FIBA AfroBasket 2017 Final against Nigeria who beat Senegal 76-71.
Hadidane scored 15 of his game-high 22 points from behind the arc, grabbed six rebounds, and as a result Tunisia – who organized the tournament in 1987 and 2015 – reached the African Championship Final for the first time as hosts.
“We stepped on the floor knowing that Morocco were a tough opposition, and made their game plan as much difficult as possible,” Hadidane later explained to FIBA.basketball.
With the win, Mario Palma became the first head coach to qualify for the tournament Final for the fifth straight time.
The winner in the finals will book a place in the finals of the FIBA world cup.
FIBA, the world governing body for basketball – is an independent association formed by 213 National Basketball Federations throughout the world. It is recognized as the sole competent authority in basketball by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).