While men slept, Nigeria’s D’Tigers dented USA’s invincible run heading into the Tokyo Olympics with a surprise 90-87 win in an exhibition contest at Las Vegas.
Nigeria paraded six NBA players, while former NBA head coach Mike Brown was at the helm, as D’Tigers became the first African side to beat the world’s highest ranked team and three-time reigning Olympic gold medalists.
The United States were without three players still active in the NBA Finals.
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant led the Americans with 17 points.
Nigeria, which had 12 NBA players in its 49-man training camp in California and seven in uniform on Saturday, was led by Gabe Vincent with 21 points.
“I’m kind of glad it happened,” USA head coach Gregg Popovich said, noting that the Nigerians have had the luxury of training together since late June while the US side had assembled just four days earlier.
Popovich said the defeat should be seen as a learning experience and not “the end of the world.”
Nigeria’s win came nine years after the United States crushed the Nigerians 156-73 at the London Olympics.
D’Tigers will leave for Kizarazu city in Japan two days later for the Pre-Games training camp, before moving into the Olympics Village proper ahead of their Group B fixtures where they will play Italy, Germany and Australia.