2019 FIBA World Cup: Aminu vs. Ivory Coast

Al-Farouq Aminu, hoping to now help his team qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, recorded 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in Nigeria’s 83-66 victory over Ivory Coast on Friday at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The Nigerians overcame a sluggish first half, starting the third quarter on a 14-3 run before outscoring the Ivorians by 15 in the period.

Aminu, who signed with the Orlando Magic earlier this summer after spending the last several seasons in Portland, made five of his eight shot attempts and one of his three 3-point tries. Nnamdi Vincent led the Nigerians in scoring with 15 points, while Ekpe Udoh, formerly an NBA Draft lottery pick, had 13.

The team from Africa that is in the highest spot in the World Cup’s final rankings will punch their ticket to next year’s Olympics. Since none of Africa’s participating teams advanced to the second round of this tournament, there is a lot at stake during the classification round.

Barring Tunisia, which plays later today against the Philippines, winning both of its two classification round games by huge margins, Nigeria will qualify for the Olympics with a victory over China in its next contest. Nigeria currently has a far better point differential than Tunisia, which is critical because should they finish with the same number of wins, the team with the better point differential will qualify. Angola, another country hoping to automatically qualify for the Olympics, lost on Friday to Iran, making it improbable for them to jump both Nigeria and Tunisia in the final rankings.

The 16 best non-qualifying teams at the World Cup along with an additional two teams from each region – Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe – will compete in the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament before the start of the Olympics. The top four teams from that competition will advance.

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