Tokyo 2020 Recap: Men’s Basketball – Australia v Nigeria

Dante Exum scored 11 points in the Boomers' 17-point win over Nigeria. Image: Basketball Australia/Twitter

Australia’s Boomers got their Olympic campaign underway against Nigeria on Sunday evening, registering a comfortable 84-67 victory against Nigeria.  For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Boomers, D’Tigers kick off their Olympic campaigns

Australia’s Boomers and Nigeria’s D’Tigers faced off on Sunday evening as both sides kicked off their respective Olympic campaigns.

Coming into Tokyo 2020, the Boomers are expected to contend heavily for a medal, ranked third in the FIBA men’s international basketball rankings, while Nigeria is ranked 22nd in the world but boasts a few NBA-level talents in its roster.

In the warm-up match the two sides played ahead of the Games, the Boomers ran away with a resounding 108-69 victory.

First Quarter – All Square

Nigeria raced out of the blocks after Aron Baynes won the tip-off for Australia, scoring the first four points of the match.

Joe Ingles then put Australia on the board with a three-pointer from the wing after receiving the assist from Patty Mills. 

The Boomers controlled the momentum, skipping out to a seven-point lead multiple times in the quarter, thanks to this turnover and dunk by Matisse Thybulle.

Nigeria then hit three consecutive three-pointers to regain momentum and then reclaim the lead with 30 seconds left in the quarter, before Dante Exum drew the scores level as the quarter-time score sat at 23 apiece. 

Second Quarter – Boomers edge ahead

The Boomers and Nigeria went mostly score-for-score for the first parts of the second quarter, the score sitting at 34-all at the halfway mark of the quarter.

A string of missed free-throws from Nigeria then gave the Boomers a chance to jump ahead  again, with a five-point lead late in the term and a 43-40 lead at the main break.

Patty Mills led the way for the Boomers in the first half with 11 points and three steals, while Matisse Thybulle also recorded three steals to go with his five points. Joe Ingles also scored nine points in the first half. 

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Third Quarter – Slowly, but surely

Australia extended its half-time lead to nine points with consecutive three-pointers in the first minute of the second half.

Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills combined on both occasions, registering a three-pointer each and setting each other up with the assist.

It was a slow and low-scoring quarter, with no points scored for the following three minutes of play, as the sides failed to capitalise and create clear scoring chances. 

The Boomers scored 15 points to Nigeria’s 12 in the quarter, taking a 58-52 lead into the final break.

Fourth Quarter – Boomers skip out to a comfortable win

Patty Mills made a hot start to the last quarter, hitting a three-pointer early in proceedings, but Nigeria threatened, at the beginning of the last quarter, keeping Australia’s lead within reach.

Nigeria trailed 61-56 after a couple of minutes’ play, however from this point, the Boomers looked comfortable and unbothered, stretching out to a then game-high 14-point lead with Patty Mills’ fifth three-pointer of the game. 

From then, the Boomers’ lead would not dip under that margin, reaching as many as 19 points before the final buzzer which saw Australia defeat Nigeria 84-67.

Key Performers

Flagbearer and Aussie star Patty Mills led the way for the Boomers with 25 points and six assists, leading all comers for points and shooting 5/8 from beyond the three-point arc. 

Joe Ingles and Dante Exum finished with 11 points each, while Olympic debutants Nick Kay (12 points, eight rebounds) and Matisse Thybulle (seven points, five steals, four assists) also starred for the Boomers.

For Nigeria, Precious Achiuwa was prolific with ten points and six rebounds, while Josh Okogie finished with 11 points and an equal team-high three assists. 

Jordan Nwora was also impressive with ten points and four steals, while Gabe Vincent collected five rebounds to go with his seven points. 

The Boomers come up against Italy for their second game of the tournament on Wednesday evening, while Nigeria faces Germany on Wednesday morning. 

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About Will Cuckson 56 Articles
Will is one of the Inner Sanctum's premier all-rounders. Not only does Will write on Aussie rules and cricket, you can also hear him on a number of our podcasts, including as the host on the SuperCoach Sanctum PODcast, a panellist on our cricket podcast Over and Stumps, and a key contributor on Ascending Olympus, our Olympics show. You can also find Will's graphic design work across the Inner Sanctum network, including the art for all our podcasts, creative articles and even the Inner Sanctum logo!

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