Chamberlain Oguchi, who missed AfroBasket 2013 due to administrative reasons, emerged Nigeria’s hero on Wednesday and took D’Tigers to a new height with an 88-63 victory against Central African Republic on Day 1 of Group A action at this year’s continental championship in Rades, Tunisia.
Although Portland Trail Blazers new recruit, Al-Farouq Aminu finished with a team-high 15 points, Oguchi proved the game-changer.
CAR took a 29-27 lead from a Johan Grebongo’s three-pointer midway through the second quarter, after which Oguchi made two straight three-pointers that energised Nigeria to a comfortable 49-35 lead at half-time.
Nigeria out-rebounded CAR 51-24, making only 30 percent of their field goal, as Oguchi’s 14 points epitomised his impact in the game and touted him the most efficient three-pointer with 4 for 7 shooting from behind the arc.
It took Nigeria most of the first two quarters to move away from CAR, but it didn’t come without a fight from the Central African Destin Damachoua who never gave up. Damachoua led CAR with 15 points.
Showing clearly more athleticism as well as scoring options, Nigeria opened their bid to qualify directly for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with a comprehensive triumph over a team they demolished a couple of years.
With the exception of Jamal Olasewere, all Nigerian players contributed at least two points, putting them in the right frame of mind to face the host nation this Sunday, 23 August.