After stunning Lithuania in group play, Nigeria pulled off another trick from their bag as they scored a huge 80-79 upset win over Greece in the Quarterfinals of the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men in Caracas, Venezuela.
Ike Diogu, a former New Orleans Hornets forward in the NBA, had a sterling performance as he finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, leading the Nigerians in what could be the biggest win in the history of African basketball.
Ade Dagunduro played the hero’s role for the Nigerians as he scored the last seven points of Nigeria to finish with 14 points, while current New Orleans Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu added 13 points, but fouled out late in the game.
Dagunduro scored on a three-pointer to give Nigeria a two-point lead, but Konstas Papanikolau answered with a three-pointer of his own to give the Greeks a one-point lead.
With the game and a semifinals seat on the line, Nigeria went to Dagunduro once again, was fouled, and nailed two cold-blooded free throws. Greece had a chance to win the game, but Vasileios Spanoulis missed the potential game-winning basket to the delight of the Nigerian squad.
The win sets the Nigerian in a semifinals clash with Russia, who dispatched Angola, 80-65, in their quarterfinal showdown.
Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic stunned Macedonia, 86-76, to advance to the semis where they will be pitted against Lithuania, who edged Puerto Rico, 76-72, in the final game of the day.
The winners in each semis pairing automatically clinch a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics, while the losers will battle it out for the third and last spot at stake in the Men’s Olympic Qualifiers.