Nigeria defeated Greece 80-79 in a thriller in the second quarter-final of the day, at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas.
Ike Diogu led Nigeria with a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds, Ade Dagunduro added 14 points. One of the victory keys was both of their excellent shooting from three throws line, adding up to 11/12 from the charity line.
Greece were led in vain by Vassilis Spanoulis, who hit with 25 and Ioannis Bourousis with 18 points.
At the beginning Nigeria kept the game tied, ending the first 21-21 after the Greekstarted off the game with a 10-2 run, while having Spanoulis on a bad day from the free throw line, going 3/8.
The European basketball powerhouse finished the second quarter and first half with a 12 points advantage thanks to Spanoulis’s two triples.
But Nigeria gave their best in the second half and succeeded to cut Greece’s advantage to six at the end of the third quarter 50-56 which resulted into an unexpected drama during the fourth period.
The African side tied at the four minute mark at 65-65, The teams changed the lead for the remaining of the game. Bourousis scored for 76-75 wih just 44 seconds to go. After the Nigerian coach called a timout which was vital. Nigeria took a shock 78-75 lead. Papanikolaou answered 14 seconds later for another lead change 79-78. Finally, 3 seconds before the end, Dangunduro was fouled and with two free throws realized, 5/5 throughout the entire game, and Spanoulis last 3 points shot blocked, Africans could start celebration.
The Nigerians are in action again tomorrow, where one more win will secure a shock place at London 2012.