Tokyo 2020 basketball: Nigeria beat world no.4 Argentina for second straight Olympic warmup win

Just two days after stunning defending Olympic champions the USA, Nigeria's men's team show they are a force to be reckoned with in Tokyo following a 23-point humbling of Argentina.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Nigeria's men's basketball team posted their second straight win in Olympic exhibition play on 12 July, beating Argentina 94-71 in Las Vegas.

D'Tigers' latest victory comes just two days after Nigeria became the first African nation to beat the United States in basketball with a 90-87 win over Team USA.

With two wins over elite opposition (the USA is the top-ranked team in the world, while Argentina is ranked fourth), Nigeria have firmly cemented their position as one of the top teams to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when the men's basketball competition tips-off on 25 July.

D'Tigers will face Australia - whom they will also play in their first group game at Tokyo 2020 - in their final exhibition game on 13 July in Las Vegas.

NBA talent powers Nigeria

Nigeria have eight NBA players on their current 16-man roster for their Olympic training camp (the roster will be reduced to 12 prior to the start of the Games), and that talent was evident on Monday evening as D'Tigers cruised to a dominant win over Argentina.

Led by Jahlil Okafor's (Detroit Pistons) 15 points and seven rebounds, Nigeria had four players score in double figures, with Precious Achiuwa (Miami Heat) adding 12 points and Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings) combining for 20.

Nigeria, who last faced Argentina at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup (losing 94-81), converted 48.1 per cent of their looks while employing a fierce defensive scheme that limited Argentina to 71 points on 35.9 per cent shooting from the field.

Nigeria head coach Mike Brown: "We're going there to try and win"

Golden State Warriors assistant coach and 2009 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown was announced as the new head coach of the Nigerian men's basketball team in February 2020, and has assembled a team full of NBA talent that has quickly shown why they are not to be underestimated in Tokyo.

Speaking to prior to the exhibition games, Brown made no qualms about Nigeria's goals for the Olympics: "We're not there [Tokyo] just to represent Nigeria, or Africa, or the black people of the world - we're going there to try and win.

"I am doing things to put us in a position to try and have that podium finish come Olympic time, which is very exciting for myself and everybody else involved."

With two wins over elite competition already, this D'Tigers team has quickly shown that they are not the Nigeria of Rio 2016 nor London 2012 (Nigeria finished 11th and 10th at those tournaments, respectively). This Nigeria is a different animal entirely; one that could challenge for the Olympic podium in Tokyo.