Nigeria got their Olympic preparations off to a flying start, taking down Team USA in a historic 90-87 win in Las Vegas.
The last time these teams met in an exhibition in 2016, Nigeria lost by 44 points and at the 2012 London Olympics, Team USA cruised to a 156-73 win, but Nigeria showed just how far their program has come under head coach Mike Brown, with their impressive shooting display.
Here are the key takeaways from the game:
Nigeria shows no fear
Nigeria made history against the USA and they showed their intentions from the jump taking an early lead in the first quarter, holding their composure the rest of the way, answering every USA run.
They trailed by just two points at the half, before taking a 66-64 lead into the fourth quarter and never trailed again.
21 PTS. 6 3PM. 4 AST.- NBA (@NBA) July 11, 2021
Gabe Vincent led all scorers in Nigeria's exhibition victory over #USABMNT! pic.twitter.com/HFclF14xvN
Ike Iroegbu hit a 3-pointer with 1:15 left to put Nigeria up 88-80, before Kevin Durant reeled off the next seven ppoints for Team USA.
They had a chance to tie the game with 13.2 seconds left but ran time off the clock, before Zach LaVine was fouled. He missed the first free-throw and deliberately missed the second, but Precious Achiuwa came up with the rebound, killing off any chance of a last-gasp effort from Team USA
Gabe Vincent shows out
Second-year Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent was the star of the show for Nigeria, scoring a game-high 21 points on 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Vincent had the hot hand all night and came up clutch down the stretch, burying a pair of free throws with 13.2 seconds remaining to put them in front by three.
Gabe Nnamdi Vincent. CLUTCH FREE THROWS!- D'Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) July 11, 2021
Nigeria up 3. 13 seconds left pic.twitter.com/tmF1yvsMC0
"Its different when were playing for our country and right now we're representing the continent and it means the world to us," Vincent said post-game.
"I know it does and I hope we showed that here tonight."
Nigerian-Canadian Caleb Agadea impressed with 17 points for Nigeria on 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Caleb Agada and Ike Iroegbu are both nice hoopers who stepped up and gave Nigeria a major spark in a big time W against Team USA. @Be_LikeIKE @CalebAgada33 pic.twitter.com/Y8M3opmvh7- Savant Hoops (@SavantHoops) July 11, 2021
Nigeria's 3-point assault
It's not often you see Team USA get outscored so comprehensively from the 3-point line, but Nigeria was playing with a ton of confidence, launching 42 threes in a 40-minute game.
They buried 20 of them as they outscored Team USA by 30 points (60-30) from the 3-point line alone.
"I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard and knocked down a lot of threes," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. "Give them credit."
Achiuwa stuffs KD
Miami Heat rookie Precious Achiuwa delivered one of the plays of the game in the second quarter, meeting Kevin Durant at the rim.
KD went baseline, ready to throw down the one-handed jam, before Achiuwa had other ideas, catching him at the rim and keeping the ball in play after the emphatic rejection.
.@KDTrey5 meet @PreciousAchiuwa- D'Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) July 11, 2021
Historic loss for USA
Team USA fell to a 54-3 record in exhibition games since 1992, giving them somewhat of a wake-up call ahead of the tournament.
Durant, who had never lost a game in a USA jersey led the team with 17 points, while Jayson Tatum added 15, Damian Lillard 14 and Bam Adebayo 11.
"I'm kind of glad it happened," Popovich said. "That loss means nothing if we don't learn from it, but it can be the most important thing in this tournament for us to learn lessons from it."
With only Adebayo and Kevin Love as the team's genuine big men, Team USA struggled to control the glass, getting outrebounded 46-34 on the night.
Dame Range goes international
Making his major tournament debut for Team USA, Damian Lillard is going to be one of the brightest stars at the Olympic Games.
The Portland Trail Blazers guard didn't waste any time testing 'Dame Range' at the international level, burying a couple of long-range bombs.
Bump. https://t.co/6wCrl3eGOq pic.twitter.com/aOhZJfr5Rm- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 11, 2021
Team USA will take on the Australian Boomers on Monday (ET), while Nigeria will square off against. Argentina on Monday (ET).
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.