After losing to Cape Verde by a score of 70-79 in the ongoing FIBA World Cup qualifiers, D’Tigers interim head coach Alan Major says the squad needs to play with care when they play Mali.
Although he praised the squad for their tenacity and hard work, he focused on the team’s turnover ratio and rebounding efforts, which he claimed were to blame for the team’s 70-79 point loss.
“They (Cape Verde) had 16 points from our turnovers, 11 second-chance points from 16 offensive rebounds.
“These are some things we can clean up, but I do like the effort. We fought back and had the lead, but we gave up a big put back to Williams Tavares.
“Congratulations to Cape Verde, they played well. They got a cushion on us at halftime.
“I thought our guys did a great job by fighting back to take the lead towards the end of the match, but you know in a game like this, you do not have much margin for error”, Major explained.
He said the team got scared towards the end of the game and rushed their plays in a quest to restore their lead, giving their opponent the winning edge.
“We just have to go back, watch some films, clean up some things and be ready to play tomorrow”.
After winning the first quarter, 15-14 points, Cape Verde took charge in the second quarter, 25-11 to head into halftime with a 39-26pts lead. D’Tigers’ performance in the second quarter haunted the team despite a spirited effort in the second half, 21-17, 17-17pts
Ikenna Ndugba and Christian Mekowulu led the scoring for D’Tigers and Uchenna Iroegbu contributed 12 points. Mekowulu picked 13 rebounds while Benjamin Emelogu had 4.
Chimezie Metu posted a double-double performance with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He said the team wanted a win but lost to a more prepared team.
“We wanted to go out there and try to win the game. We did that for stretches of the game but Cape Verde played together. They have been together and practicing more than we have”.
“He believes the team has what it takes to win their next two games and finish the first round strongly.
“The team has seven (7) points from four (4) matches and will face Mali tomorrow (Saturday).2