Jazz Guards Ingles, Oni Quiet In Olympic Opener
SALT LAKE City, Utah – Joe Ingles and Miye Oni had forgettable debuts for the national teams as the Tokyo Olympics basketball tournament got underway early Sunday morning.
Ingles scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds for Team Australia, but turned the ball over three times while shooting just 4-12 in the opener.
Oni scored two points on 1-3 shooting but did earn a starting spot for his Olympics debut from the head coach of the Nigerian national team Mike Brown.
Ingles and Australia pulled away from Nigeria 84-67, outscoring the upstart roster 41-27 over the final two periods of play. The veteran Jazz guard opened the scoring for the Boomers, knocking down an early three, but would connect on only one of his following six attempts to finish 2-7 from downtown.
The two teams play in Group B which also features Italy and Germany. Australia will play Italy in their next game, before wrapping up group play next weekend against the German roster.
Nigeria’s next game is against Germany midweek before facing Italy to determine who advances to the next round. The Olympic Basketball Tournament features 12 teams separated into three groups. The top two teams from each group advance, plus the two best third-place teams to create an eight-team semi-final that will determine who competes in the gold and bronze medal games.
Former Jazzman Dante Exum made his Olympic debut for Team Australia and was impactful in 24 minutes. The lanky guard scored 11 points to match Ingles while grabbing five rebounds and handing out three assists.
Ekpe Udoh, who spent two seasons with the Jazz, played four minutes for Team Nigeria but left the game with an injury late in the fourth quarter. Udoh went scoreless but did grab one rebound in his brief stint on the floor.
Australia was led by San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills who scored 25 points while Nigeria was led by Obi Emegano who scored 12 points in the loss.