Former Husker Ade Dagunduro Helps Nigeria Qualify for Olympic Games|
Former Husker Ade Dagunduro is London bound, as the Nigerian National Team downed the Dominican Republic, 88-73, at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament Sunday evening.
Dagunduro finished with nine points and team highs in both assists (five) and steals (three) to help Nigeria to its first-ever Olympic berth, as Nigeria earned the third and final spot available in the tournament.
Nigeria has been assigned to Group A for the London Olympics, a bracket which includes the United States, France, Argentina, Lithuania and Tunisia.
Dagunduro, who spent two seasons at Nebraska and earned third-team All-Big 12 honors in 2009, finished the tournament averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game, leading Nigeria in both assists and steals and ranking third in points.
It was a whirlwind week for Nigeria, which came into the tournament ranked 21st in the world. The team had to upset both Lithuania and Greece, two of the top five teams in the world, to advance to the semifinals after losing to Venezuela in its tournament opener on Monday.
Nigeria fell behind 14-6 in the first quarter before regaining their footing, running off nine straight points as a steal and score by Dagunduro gave Nigeria a 15-14 lead and would never trail again. Nigeria built a 10-point lead in the second half, but could not pull away until late. The Dominican Republic tied the score at 64 midway through the fourth quarter, but Ike Diogu keyed an 8-2 run with a pair of 3-pointers to give Nigeria a seven-point lead.
Diogu led Nigeria with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead three Nigerian players in double figures.
With Nigeria qualifying tonight, Nebraska will have two former menís basketball players in London, as Aleks Maric is on the Australian national team. The 2012 Olympics will mark the first time that Nebraska has had Olympians in basketball.
Dagunduro and Maric played together at Nebraska during the 2007-08 season, helping the Huskers to a 20-13 record and the second round of the NIT. Maric, who was a senior in 2007-08, averaged 15.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game to earn All-Big 12 honors, while Dagunduro added 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in his first season as a Husker.