Hosts Cote d’Ivoire ended Nigeria’s perfect record in the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers on Friday in Abidjan with a 72-46 points win.
The feat was in their opening game at the 2nd Round Group F series, which is the final round of games in the qualifiers.
A lacklustre Nigerian side put up their worst performance so far in the FIBA (Africa) World Cup qualifiers at the Palais des Sports de Treichville venue of the games.
The hosts started the game brightly, but the first quarter was a keenly contested one, which they eventually took by 14-10 points.
In the second quarter, Nigerian senior basketball side played like the team which became the first to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
But a more determined Cote d’Ivoire showed resilience to win the quarter by 14-9 points.
It looked like the game plan was working for the hosts, who no doubt were playing against a team with nothing at stake.
And it was in the third quarter that the Ivorians totally demolished their Nigerian opponents, tearing apart the defence of D’Tigers at will.
Five three-pointers, including two each from Souleyman Diabate and Landry Edi, and a spectacular throw down, summed up the night for a Nigerian side which lacked conviction amd creativity.
The Ivorians took the quarter by 27-12 points.
A subdued final quarter saw the D’Tigers put up a late resurgence.
But their 15 points against the hosts’ 17 were not enough to prevent them from falling to their first defeat in 10 FIBA World Cup qualifying games.
Such was the performance of the D’Tigers that their top performer, Ekene Ibekwe, could only manage eight points and 10 rebounds.
Landry Edi, with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, was the hosts’ top performer.
Nigeria’s next game is against the Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday.
CAR had earlier in the day beaten Mali 75-57 in another game at the qualifiers.