Fans rejoice after Nigeria's shock win over Team USA in pre-Olympics basketball game

Scoring a whopping 20 3 pointers, Nigeria's men's basketball team beat US with a 90-87 victory, nine years after losing to the US at the 2012 Olympics


                            Fans rejoice after Nigeria's shock win over Team USA in pre-Olympics basketball game
Michael Gbinije of Nigeria knocks the ball away from Jayson Tatum of the US during a game ahead of Tokyo Olympics on July 10 in Las Vegas (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Basketball fans were stunned as the Nigerian men's team destroyed their United States counterparts in a shocking 90-87 victory on Saturday, July 10, in a pre-Olympic exhibition game in Las Vegas.

Scoring 20 3-pointers, Nigeria never trailed in the fourth quarter of the Saturday game at Michelob ULTRA Arena — nine years after losing to the US by 83 points at the 2012 Olympics. The African team was coached by Golden State Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown and featured eight players with NBA experience. Six of the 3s were scored by Gabe Vincent, who plays for Miami Heat. Vincent led the team with 21 points (6 of 8 on 3-pointers). Caleb Agada added 17 points, including 3 of 3 from 3-point range, The Athletic reported.

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“We just wanted to compete,” said Vincent, whose Nigerian name is Gabe Nnamdi. “We know what USA Basketball means around the world and what they’ve stood for so long. Mike’s done a great job with us so far,” Vincent continued. “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," he added.

The United States and Nigeria players stand on the court as their national anthems are played before an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

After the loss on July 10, Team USA fell to 54-3 in exhibition games since 1992. It had won 110-66 during the last meeting between the teams at a 2016 exhibition. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant scored 17 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics added 15 and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers scored 14. Nonetheless, Nigeria outrebounded the US 46-34.
  
“It’s just all the work we put in," Vincent explained. "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.” US coach Gregg Popovich chimed in, “I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard, and knocked down a lot of threes. Give them credit.”

 Ike Nwamu #34 of Nigeria drives against Kevin Durant #7 of the United States during an exhibition game at Michelob ULTRA Arena ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 10, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Basketball fans online responded to the final score with shock and awe.

"This has gotta be one of the wildest stats/sentences in the history of basketball. Kevin Durant's resume now includes an 83-point win over Nigeria and a 3-point loss to Nigeria," sportswriter Bill Heyen tweeted. "Lionel Messi finally wins a major trophy for Argentina. Then Nigeria beats the United States Basketball team 90 to 87. This is an extraordinary day in sports. Wow wow! What a day my Lord!" podcaster JJ Omojuwa reacted.

"Nigeria 90, Team USA 87. I don't believe the United States has ever, in history, lost to a team from the African continent. Nigeria lost by 44 the last time they played the US. They lost by 83 the time before that. Yes, 83," reporter Timothy Burke added. "Team Nigeria was treating Dame like he J. Cole, sources tell me they were screaming “WE GOT ANOTHER RAPPER” everytime he got switched on defense," one Twitter user quipped. One shocked fan said, "History just took place. US Olympic Men’s Basketball 87 Nigeria 90 Yeah, just an exhibition, but very telling US might still win Olympic Gold, but the rest of the world is not scared anymore Can’t just show up and expect the W."



 



 



 



 



 

Team USA is set to take the court against Australia on Monday, July 12. Meanwhile, the US will play its first Olympic game on Sunday, July 25, against France, competing in a total of three group play matches before the knockouts begin on August 2. That said, US players Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks will be joining the national team only after the NBA finals are concluded. The latest game is set for July 22 if the series goes seven games, according to The Athletic.

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