Nigeria’s D’Tigers lost their third game on Thursday night in men’s basketball event of 2016 Rio Olympics amidst security scare.
Spain beat the Nigerian team 96-87 to boost their chances of a top-four finish and a place in the Quarter-Finals in a game which began in a nearly empty arena as security officials prevented fans from entering while police exploded a suspicious backpack left near a public restroom.
The controlled explosion by the Police and the Brazilian Army reverberated inside and out Carioca Arena while fans were allowed in later in the first quarter, AP reported.
Spain, which won the silver medal at the past two Olympics took an early 16-point lead in the in the empty Carioca Arena.
Nigeria took the lead by a point in the last minute of third quarter of the game with Chamberlain Oguchi’s three-point shooting.
But Spain regained the lead at the start of the fourth quarter with Juan-Carlos Navarro’s three-pointer – one of his three on the night and the Europeans never trailed again.
Though Nigeria did twice pull to within a point on Oguchi three-pointers, Spain had an answer each time.
“Nigeria just kept battling us, but we were able to get out of it. That was the first step in the right direction,” said Spain’s Paul Gasol, who finished the game with 16 points.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We played two heart-breakers (against Croatia and Brazil) but we got a good win, an important win, against a team that’s playing really well. They made it really tough on us.”
Nigeria has lost all its three games in the competition and will have to beat Brazil and Croatia to have a chance a chance of a top-four finish, according to analysts.