Nigeria upset the United States men’s basketball team 90-87 in a pre-Olympic exhibition game at Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday.
The match-up serves as one of the tune-up games arranged by the Nigeria Basketball Federation for the team as they prepare for the 2020 Olympics where they’ll face Australia, Germany and Italy in Group B.
Point guard Gabe Vincent, Caleb Agada, and forward Precious Achiuwa impressed in the encounter. Achiuwa had perhaps the night’s top defensive play with 1:23 left in the first half, reaching with his left hand to block a Kevin Durant dunk attempt.
Nigeria converted 20 three-point throws from 42 attempts in the game with six of the 20 coming from Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent who led the men in green in scoring with 21 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
Caleb Agada had 17 points, three rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes while Ike Nwamu finished the game with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes. Ike Ireogbu also impressed in the encounter scoring 11 points.
Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 17 points, Jayson Tatum added 15 and Damian Lillard scored 14 points and Bam Adebayo 11 in a disappointing outing for the reigning Olympic champions.
Reacting to the win, Vincent hailed the the impact of the team’s head coach Mike Brown on the squad.
“Mike’s done a great job with us so far,” Vincent said after the game. “We’ve had a great camp so far. We had to build a new culture, start from the ground up, new plays, new everything. We’ve got a lot of new guys in.
“It’s different when you’re playing for a country. Right now we’re representing the continent. It means the world to us and I hope we showed it here tonight.
“It’s just all the work we put in. It’s no mistake what happened here tonight.
“We knew what it was. We’ve all seen them play at the highest level and make huge shots. We knew what came with that and we just had to make plays.”
The game offered Nigeria’s coach Mike Brown an opportunity to prune his 15-man squad down to 12 players for the Games.
He is expected to announce his final squad on July 17, before the team’s departure to Kizarazu city in Japan two days later for the Pre-Games training camp, before moving into the Olympics Village.