In a press conference following the US men’s basketball team’s record-breaking triumph over Nigeria’s D’Tigers, the coach for the winning team dismissed rumours that his team had set out to “embarrass” Nigeria.
Mike Krzyzewski told journalists that “it is wrong for anyone to say that it was the game plan to embarrass Nigeria because of the interest the game generated since the draw was made”.
Thursday night’s game saw the US team beat Nigeria’s D’Tigers 156-73, breaking the Olympic record for most points in a single game.
There had been rumours that the American team arrived ready to “humiliate” the Nigerian team for being “loud mouthed”, which the team denied. Prior to the highly anticipated game, team Nigeria, who had just suffered a 72-53 loss to Lithuania, expressed determination to put up a good fight in their battle against the US men’s basketball team.
“We will not be intimidated by those guys,” Ike Diogu, a former top-10 NBA draft pick who has played 225 NBA games, said. “A lot of us went to school in the U.S. and have played against those guys. We have no reason to feel overwhelmed.”
Nigeria guard Tony Skinn had agreed, saying: “A lot of us, obviously we’re Nigerians, but we play in the States and I don’t think we have that mentality to just come in the game and just, you know, get our (butts) whooped.”
Despite the confidence coming into the game and putting up a valiant effort, the Nigerian team proved no match for the US team who beat the Nigerian team by a whopping 83 point lead.
Coach Krzyzewski said the victory was thanks to having a good shooting percentage on the night of the game.
“We have never had it so good shooting and I am sure it is so for many teams across the world,” the US coach said, adding that “our shooting was incredible and we are surprised by what we achieved”.
He congratulated the Nigerian team on putting up a good fight in the game, saying they “were scoring highly too initially”.
However, in the later stages of the game, the US team pulled ahead, securing 100 points with five minutes left in the third quarter.
“We didn’t beat a loser,” Krzyzewski said, calling the Nigerian team a winning team as well, as they had worked hard to also qualify for the 2012 Olympic games.