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Olusegun Ikuesan

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Customs edge Rivers Hoopers 60 - 49 - Apr 21, 2017


POSTED BY:
OLUSEGUN IKUESAN
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Visiting Rivers Hoopers Basketball club of Port Harcourt were outrebounded and outshot from three point range losing to Nigeria Customs 60-49 at the Indoor Sports Hall, National Stadium Lagos on Thursday.

Despite falling to Customs, former Customs power forward, Solomon Ajegbeyi scored 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists delivering consecutive baskets in the first but not enough to salvage the loss to Customs.

Customs guard, Okiki Afuwape Michael who was their best player finished with a game high 25 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Okiki's shooting pushed Customs to the lead and in over 4 minutes of play, Hoopers couldn't score leaving the host to their biggest score run (9-0) in 6:22. The two time champions were left with series of missed shots and turnovers.

The KingsMen got a huge performance off the bench from former Mentors guard, Friday Haruna who tried to outpace Okiki but was let down by his team's turnovers (23) , missed buckets and a great defense from the host.

Hoopers trailed in the final quarter 52-46 for over five minutes and once again fell short of the baskets (0/10) hitting just 7 of their shots with less than 2 minutes remaining (1:34) in the last quarter.

The loss to Nigeria Customs is the 6th out of the 7 games played between the two sides in two seasons which is also a repeat of last season's league opener where the former champions also lost in Lagos to the Coach Scott Nnaji tutored border boys.

Speaking to the media after the game, Coach Ogoh Odaudu , Rivers Hoopers head coach said they had no solution for Michael Okiki who had a brilliant game against his team.

'There was no solution for him today I completely agree with you. It wasn't Rivers Hoopers versus Customs but Rivers Hopers versus Michael Okiki. He practically took over the game for a player who is playing his second season. He played well like a veteran I will say kudos to him,' Coach Odaudu said.

The former Nigeria international pointed out where his team got it wrong. 'We broke down in the third quarter but thank God it happened in our first game. It's a league and we still have 27 more games to go. All we will do now is to go back to the drawing board and work on our defects.' Odaudu said.

Customs coach, Nnaji attributed his team form to motivational words at half time. 'We are just starting the season and I am just working with the new players. After our lost to Kwara Falcons last week, we did some work out and I made sure we cooperated with each other and have positive attitude towards the game. At half time, I tried to motivate them telling them it's not over yet and (they should) stay positive. And I am happy they played like that and it was good." Nnaji explained

Hoopers next game will be against the Police Baton on Saturday also in Lagos.   




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