Afrobasket: D’Tigers coach Brown wants improvement after Mali win


D’Tigers coach, Mike Brown, believes Nigeria will be better offensively and defensively when they face Kenya and Ivory Coast in their next fixtures at the ongoing 2021 Afrobasket at the Kigali Arena in Rwanda.

The team struggled in their opening game of the competition narrowly beating Mali 81-73 despite starting the encounter the brighter side.

The Nigerians were made to pay for their sloppiness in the second and fourth quarter with the Malians winning 31-16 and 20-10 but it was not enough for them to take the win.

Nigeria committed a total of 24 fouls in the game compared to Mali’s nine and made 22 turnovers to Mali’s 20 with the Malians gaining 24 points from D’Tigers turnovers.

Benjamin Emelogu was D’Tigers best player on the court with a +26 efficiency. He scored 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Reacting to questions after the game, Brown, said the slopiness in their performance was due to lack of preparation and tiredness also disclosing that it was the first contact game for the boys.

“This was the first time the players had contact since the camp opened and because it’s the first time, they got tired and when they got tired they got sloppy offensively,” Brown said in the post-match press conference monitored by our correspondent

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“They had a lot of turnovers when they got really tired.”

However, Brown says going forward, the boys will do better in terms of ball-handling and limiting the numbers of turnovers and fouls they give out.

“We have to take care of the ball better; we can’t foul as much as we did against Mali. We know both of these teams (Kenya and Ivory Coast) are really good, we know they both want to win just like Mali did but we’ll take it one game at a time.

“While we go into the game, we try to do what we can and try to win but I believe if we can take care of the ball, if we don’t put them to the free-throw line, and we take care of the transition game, we’re going to give ourselves the chance to win.”

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