Nigeria beat Angola 74-65 in the AfroBasket 2015 Final on Sunday to claim their first-ever continental championship in Rades, Tunisia.
Angola entered the floor aiming at winning their 12th African title, but a succession a poor shooting boosted Nigeria’s confidence as they led by as many as 19 points.
With the win, Nigeria not only denied Angola’s 12th continental title, but also qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Angola, in meantime, should take part in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Paced by Chamberlain Oguchi and Olaseni Lawal, Will Voigt’s team closed their campaign with a 6-1 mark, while the Angolans return home with a 5-2 record.
Oguchi, who was named MVP of the tournament, made 3 of Nigeria’s 23 three-pointers to go with a game-high 19 points.
Despite a modest shooting night, Carlos Morais led the Angolans with 15 points, Yanick Moreira added 13 and Braulio Morais, who fouled out, contributed 12 off the bench.
Angola used a 7-1 run in the opening seven minutes, but the Western Africans’s rotation made the difference as they turned the score around in the second quarter.
Angola’s 12 personal fouls in the second quarter allowed Nigeria to visit the free-throw line 16 times, which proved detrimental for the former champions.
Lawal proved too much for the Angolans as he dominated the painted area with 12 points and five offensive rebounds.
Usually, a poor free-throw shooter, the FC Barcelona new signing Lawal made 6 of his 6 shots from the charity line.
Although Angola cut the deficit to just seven points in the third quarter, Nigeria regrouped in time to lead for the remainder of the contest.
Oguchi headlined the All-Tournament team which included Morais, Makram Ben Romdhane, Gorgui Dieng and Al-Farouq Aminu.
Turning Point: Oguchi hit a three-pointer that gave Nigeria a 23-19 lead with 3:28 minutes in the second quarter, and the Nigerians went on close the half leading 37-24.
Stats Don’t Lie: Nigeria capitalised from their athleticism to out-rebound Angola 60-37. The former champions paid the price for making only 8 of their 16 free-throws.
Game Hero: Lawal ruled the painted area, and the Angolans were never able to stop him.
The Bottom Line: Ever since Nigeria took the lead in the second quarter, Angola were never the same, showing inexplicable distress. Angola’s poor ball movement was also costly as came up with only seven assists.