The Nigeria D’Tigers upset Team USA 90-87 in a pre-Olympics exhibition basketball game in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Gabe Vincent led Nigeria with 21 points on 6-8 three-point shooting.
The Americans entered the exhibition game as 25/1 betting favorites to beat the D’Tigers.
Nigeria’s men’s basketball team defeated Team USA 90-87 on Saturday night at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Arena.
Of course, not many were tuned in to the game because everyone was hooked to UFC 264 via PPV at nearby T-Mobile Arena. But what was supposed to be a tune-up game for the Americans turned into a wake up call.
It was just an exhibition game all right but just to show how big an upset it was, the best NBA betting sites had Team USA as a massive 25/1 betting favorite to beat Nigeria on Saturday night:
Team Nigeria was +2500 to get the upset win over Team USA and were +28.5 with the spread in the Pre-Olympics Exhibition tonight.
Congrats to the @WilliamHillNV bettor who wagered $200 on Nigeria (+2500) and won $5,000! #WHWinners pic.twitter.com/slu5Ch4JaY
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) July 11, 2021
It was a game where Team USA did not have its best possible lineup. But given that the team had the likes of Kevin Durant, Damain Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, and Bam Adebayo, there’s got to be some degree of concern for the Americans right now with the Olympics just round the corner.
Team USA entered the game with only four practice days this week, spending Friday with a light workout with no scrimmage. The D’Tigers were formed on June 20 and have been playing together since June 27. The difference of a couple of weeks in preparation was evident on Saturday night.
Nigeria overcame an early 10-point lead and made an early statement that they weren’t going away without a fight. The Americans responded by playing an iso-heavy offense. But their stars looked rusty as Durant, Beal, and Lillard combined to shoot 9-30 from the field.
But more than the factors on Team USA’s side, the biggest difference in the game was Gabe Vincent.
Two Words: Gabe Vincent
21 PTS. 6 3PM. 4 AST.
Gabe Vincent led all scorers in Nigeria’s exhibition victory over #USABMNT! pic.twitter.com/HFclF14xvN
— NBA (@NBA) July 11, 2021
25-year old Gabe Vincent was the key player for Nigeria against the Americans. A current two-way player for the Miami Heat, Vincent scored 26 points while making 6 out of 8 three-pointers for the D’Tigers. With Vincent leading the way, Nigeria outgunned the Americans from three-point distance 21-42 against 10-24.
If you do the math, that’s a 33-point differential from deep. Given that the international game is played behind the arc, that’s something that the Americans must work on if they are to live up to their billing as the odds on favorite to win the gold medal in Tokyo.
Vincent was undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft out of UC Santa Barbara where he made Second Team All-Big West in 2018. He was the G League’s Most Improved Player winner in 2020 while averaging 23.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game for the Stockton Kings .
A Historic Upset
A HISTORIC UPSET‼️
Nigeria hit 20 team threes to upset Team USA in a pre-Olympic exhibition game, 90-87. pic.twitter.com/7tll1dF2kR
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) July 11, 2021
It was indeed a historic upset win by Nigeria who lost to the United States 156-73 during the 2012 London Olympic games and 110-66 in an exhibition game before the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Coming to Saturday’s game, Team USA had a 54-2 record in exhibition games since professional basketball players were allowed to play in the Olympics. Nigeria meanwhile, has made only two appearances in the Olympics. They finished 10th in 2012 and 11th in 2016.
Next month, the D’Tigers will be participating in their 3rd Olympics. They are bracketed in Group B along with Australia, Germany, and Italy. Among the members in their group, Nigeria is the only team that is ranked outside the Top 20 in the latest FIBA rankings. However, they may be the one that enters the tournament with the most confidence and good momentum after their historic win over the Americans on Saturday night.
As the D’Tigers themselves said, it may not count in any standings but it means so much to an entire country:
This game might not count but it means so much to an entire country.
NAIJA NO DEY CARRY LAST!
— D’Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) July 11, 2021