04 August 2012

Nigeria: United States Humiliation of D' Tigers Stuns Bakare

  • Twenty minutes after the United States of America senior men basketball team dealt Nigeria's D' Tigers a humiliating 156-73 blow, Head Coach, Ayo Bakare sat rooted on the same spot wondering what has just happened.
    "We never imagine beating the USA team but did not expect this kind of whitewash. I am still stunned right now," observed Bakare who remains Nigeria's longest serving basketball coach.
    He admitted that the world-record setting defeat D' Tigers suffered in the hands of the United States of America has left him stunned and challenged about the way forward for basketball in Nigeria.
    " The game was going to be a barometer of a sort, a kind of test for us to know how to move forward but it has turned out in opposite direction for us," laments Bakare, who is the coach and financier of Ebun Comets.
    The D' Tigers' chief handler insisted that there was no positive for Nigeria to take home from the embarrassing defeat.
    "And if we are talking of taking positives from this game, it would be strange to find any. I don't see any positives. For me I would rather take away lessons. There are a lot to learn from a game like this that could be useful in the next matches and that is what we can take away from this. We will work on all that put down so much tonight to move on from there."
    However, the defeat has now dampen the morale of the mostly USA-based players who were on high following Nigeria's victory in the opening game against African champions, Tunisia. Nigeria next opponent is Argentina.
    "It is really tough to get players motivated for the next match after an outing like this; this is now a huge challenge on us. We indeed wanted to do well with this and use it as a launch pad for the match against Argentina but things have turned out so differently that it leaves us flat on the ground.
    "You cannot suffer this kind of loss and not find it tough motivating the players but we do not have a choice if we must progress to the next stage."
    Ike Diogu, who played six seasons with various NBA clubs, led Nigeria with 27 points.
    "When they shoot like this, I don't think there is any team that could beat them," Diogu said.
    D' Tigers forward, Koko Archibong, said it was quite an experience being part of the game.
    "On the one side, it's terrible to get whipped like that," he said. "But on the other side it was something impressive to see, to be a part of, to witness in person."
    The points total easily eclipsed the previous record of 138 set by Brazil in 1988. The U.S. halftime total of 78 points was also an Olympic record, officials said.
    The entire U.S. team, given a wide berth by Nigerian defenders, enjoyed an extraordinarily accurate night of target practice as they made 71 percent of their shots, including 29-of-46 from long range, and 30-of-37 from inside the arc.
    "We shot better than any team in a game I ever coached. Our guys just couldn't miss tonight," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
    Kzyzewski bristled, however, when he was asked at the post-game news conference whether he felt his team had been cruel to humiliate an overmatched opponent.
    "We didn't play LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) in the second half. We benched Melo (Anthony) despite how he was playing. We didn't play (Kevin) Durant. We didn't take any fast breaks. There is a 24-second clock. The shots we took, we happened to hit," he said.

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