Dagunduro’s Heroics Lift Nigeria to 80-79 Win
Caracas, Venezuela - Former Husker Ade Dagunduro had seven of his 14 points in the final 1:10, as Nigeria pulled off its second upset in three days, eliminating Greece, 80-79, in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Friday afternoon.
Dagunduro, who played for the Huskers in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, finished with 14 points, including a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line, and two steals in 15 minutes of action.
Nigeria, which lost its first game to Venezuela on Monday, has knocked off the fourth (Greece) and fifth (Lithuania) ranked teams in the world, as the two teams were the highest rated of the 12 teams who were in this Olympic qualifier.
Nigeria will now play Russia, an 80-65 winner over Angola, in Saturday's first semifinal matchup with the winner earning an automatic bid to the London Olympics. That game will be aired on NBA TV Saturday night at 8 p.m. (central). If Nigeria loses on Saturday, the third-place game is set for Sunday and will be shown on NBA TV at 7 p.m. (central) and the winner of that game will be the last qualifier to the Olympics.
Nigeria, which trailed 42-30 at halftime, fought back in the second half, tying the score with 6:06 remaining and led 73-72 before Dagunduro took over down the stretch. He hit a short jumper with 1:10 left to put Nigeria up 75-72. Greece then scored the next four points to take 76-75 lead on a pair of Ioannis Bourousis free throws with 44 seconds remaining before Dagunduro hit a 3-pointer on Nigeria's next possession to regain the lead at 78-76.
The lead would be short-lived, as Konstantinos Papanikolaou hit a 3-pointer to give the Greeks a 79-78 lead. Nigeria had a chance for a final possession, and Dagunduro was fouled with three seconds remaining. He sank both shots, and the upset was preserved moments later as Derrick Obasohan blocked Greece's final attempt at the buzzer.