Nico Mannion, Italy beat Nigeria to advance to Olympic quarterfinals

Nico Mannion, Italy beat Nigeria to advance to Olympic quarterfinals

July 31, 2021 Off By Oha

Nicolo Melli produced a team-high 15 points, Nico Mannion had 14 points and Achille Polonara added 13 points to lead Italy to a comeback win over Nigeria and advance to Olympic quarterfinals at Tokyo Olympics.

Italy trailed by eight points early in the fourth quarter, but a 14-0 run enabled them to pull ahead for good and take the 80-71 victory on Saturday. The Italians outscored Nigeria 24-8 in the final period to finish preliminary play with a 2-1 record.

With Nigeria down by just four points, Mannion drained a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to seal the victory. He finished with four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 16 minutes of work.

Mannion averaged 15 points, five assists and 2.3 rebounds in the group phase.

Italy earned a ticket to Tokyo after winning the qualifying tournament earlier this month from Belgrade, Serbia. Mannion played a key role for Italy in winning the qualifying tournament, averaging 17.7 points, four assists and 1.7 rebounds per game.

They opened up the Olympics with a 10-point win over Germany with Simone Fontecchio leading the way with 20 points. Following that game, Italy lost to Australia to set up a must-win situation on Saturday versus Nigeria to advance to olympic quarterfinals

Italy finished second in Group B behind Australia (3-0) and in front of Germany (1-2) and Nigeria (0-3). They will begin the quarterfinals on Tuesday against an opponent to be determined from the final phase drawing, which will take place on Sunday.

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