Basketball: Tunisia slapped by debuting Nigeria in 60-56 edge out to stay afloat

Nigeria/ Tunisia slugging it out on Sunday

Nigeria survive a huge Tunisian rally to score a 60-56 win – London Olympics Men Basketball Recap her at the Olympics on Sunday.

In their first ever appearance at the prestigious games, Nigeria got off to a dream start as they managed their way to a 60-56 win over Tunisia on Sunday.

Alade Aminu led the scoring for the Nigerians with 15 points. His conversion rate could have been slightly better though as he shot the ball just 6 of 14 from the field. Ike Diogu provided equal support in the ball game by chipping in 13 points while Al-Farouq Aminu shot the ball 3 of 9 from the field to register 10 points on the night.

The Tunisian effort was led by one Amine Rzig who finished the game with 18 points on a 7 of 9 shooting performance. Only two other players managed to cross the double figure mark for Tunisia – Macram Ben Romdhane and Marouan Kechrid both signed off with 12 points each.

Nigeria got off to a dominating start and opened up proceedings on an 8-0 scoring burst. For the remaining time in the first period, the Nigerians outscored Tunisia 10-7 to take an 18-7 lead after the opening quarter.

It took almost two and half minutes in the second quarter for the scoring to start, when the Tunisians made a three pointer to cut the lead down to 10 points. However Nigeria followed that up with another strong run, scoring the next 11 points in the ball game to take a 31-15 lead at interval.

Tunisia scored the first four points to start the second half and after conceding a two pointer on the following possession, they went on to score the 6 more unanswered points. They kept on chipping away at the deficit, but the Nigerians responded every time.

Nigeria were not letting their good work go to waste as they put together a 9-2 run to close out the period and take a 45-31 lead into the final quarter.

Tunisia however had some fight left in them. Staring at a 14 point hole, they erupted with a 9-0 run to start of the fourth quarter. The charge continued and with 5:14 remaining on the clock, they were only trailing by 49-47.

Nigeria desperately hung on in the closing moments and with 27 seconds remaining the difference remained at 2. Tunisia had the momentum on their side, however they were let down by two missed opportunities and a turnover from Romdhane which eventually cost them the game.

This allowed the Nigerian’s some much needed breathing space and all they needed was to convert two out of their last four attempts from the stripe to take this one by 4 points.

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Tuesday is day two of the London 2012 Olympics Men’s Basketball:

4:00 a.m. ET – [Group B] China vs. Russia: China lost by 16 points to Group B favorite Spain on Sunday but all wasn’t lost, as expected team-leaderJianlian Yi stepped up to the challenge. Yi scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against Spain’s formidable frontline. However, if China wants to advance he will need to get some support, starting on Tuesday when they take on the Russians. Andre Kirilenko led all scorers on Sunday with 35 points and Aleksey Shved dished out 13 assists, which leads the Olympics. Pick: Russia 85, China 70

6:15 a.m. ET – [Group B] Australia vs. Spain: After losing to Brazil, the Aussies could be in trouble and Spain, a bad matchup, isn’t going to help them get healthy. Big men David Anderson and Matt Nielsen are proven Olympians but they are no threat to Spain’s top-notch frontline. Pau Gasol opened strong with 21 points and 11 rebounds against China and while Marc Gasol [5 points, 2 rebounds] works his way back after missing some exhibition games, Serge Ibaka [5 points, 2 rebounds] picks up the slack. Pick: Spain 88, Australia 69

9:30 a.m. ET. (Local Time 14:20PM) – [Group A] Lithuania vs. Nigeria: The Nigerians won their Olympic debut, but that was against Tunisia. Lithuania is a significant step up in competition but that doesn’t mean they can’t pull off the upset, as Nigeria won when these two nations squared off head-to-head in the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament and former Pac-10 Player of the YearIke Diogu has been putting up double/doubles on a consistent basis. Lithuania needs to bounce back after losing by 23 points to Argentina. They are still in good position to advance but not if they lose on Tuesday. Missouri product Linas Kleiza leads the way. Pick: Lithuania 84, Nigeria 79

11:45 a.m. ET – [Group B] Great Britain vs. Brazil: The Brits may have home-court advantage but after Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng there isn’t much they can count on and Deng is being asked to carry too much of the load. The former Dukie scored 26 points on Sunday, but needed 27 shots to get there. Brazil on the other hand, is a dangerous club, who picked up a big win when they knocked off Australia in the opening round. The backcourt of Marcelinho Huertas and Leandro Barbosa should control the tempo, as Brazil improves to 2-0. Pick:Brazil 90, Great Britain 74

3:00 p.m. ET – [Group A] France vs. Argentina: The schedule makers didn’t do France any favors by starting them off with gold medal favorite USA, followed by Argentina, who is also expected to medal in London. France is a dangerous club, but as we saw on Sunday, they’re a notch below the elite teams. Argentina may not be as good as the US, but if Sunday is any indication, Olympic veterans Luis Scola [32 points], Manu Ginobili [21 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists] and Carlos Delfino [20 points] have come to play. Pick: Argentina 85, France 75

5:15 p.m. ET – [Group A] Tunisia vs. USA: This might be the mismatch of the entire tournament, as the Americans, the top team in the field, take on what many experts believe may be the weakest team in London, certainly the least threatening team in Group A. No matter how hard they might try, the Americans could not give this one away even if they wanted to. Pick: USA 83, Tunisia 36

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of American. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.