By Sonya Magett, EnStarz | Jul 10, 2012 03:23 PM EDT
Nigeria's basketball team will make their debut at the London games after beating Dominican Republic's team in a 88-73 victory. Nigeria finished third at the Federation of International Basketball Associations qualifying tournament in Venezuela. That placement gave Nigeria the final berth in the 12-team Olympic tournament, according to NBColympics.com.
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The West African nation earned the final men's basketball slot to qualify for the London Olympics 2012 when team member Ike Diogu scored 25 points. "I'm very happy. We did what had to be done," Diogu said who also had 10 rebounds. "We knew we were going to face teams that are heavyweights, and we did what we needed to do - win."
Ike Diogu, a five-year NBA veteran who appeared in only two games last season, helped the team win with several three-point shots late in the fourth quarter, according to SBNation.com. His teammate, Al-Farouq Aminu, a former player for the New Orleans Hornets also helped the team score many points.
"If you are a bigtime player you have to relish those moments and that's what I did, having decided to carry my team at crunch time", said Diogu.
Forward Derrick Obasohan added: "We had the toughest schedule in the tournament but nothing was going to stop us tonight because we were on a mission."
Yack Martinez led the Dominican Republic, coached by former Kentucky coach John Calipari, with 16 points.
Former Penn State basketball player Koko Archibong will participate in the Summer Olympics as a member of the Nigeria basketball team. Archibong is believed to be the first Penn basketball player to play in the Olympics, according to Philly.com.
Archibong was a 4-year letterwinner and played 99 games at Penn. He was the captain of the 2002-03 team and ended his Quakers career with 1,131 points, 504 rebounds, 110 assists, 76 steals and 59 blocked shots.
Nigeria will join Lithuania, the United States, Tunisia, France and Argentina in Group A. Russia, China, Britain, Brazil, Australia and Spain are in Group B, according to nbcolympics.com.
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