July 28, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. -- Former Northern Illinois men’s basketball player Richard Oruche will represent Nigeria in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Oruche and the Nigerian team will begin Olympic play tomorrow (July 29) against Tunisia.
A native of Bensenville, Ill., Oruche was a member of the Huskie program from 2005-07. After redshirting the 2005-06 seasons, Oruche appeared in 18 games during the 2006-07 season for the Huskies. Oruche currently plays professionally in Portugal and averaged 15.4 points per game for Associacao Academica de Coimbra during the 2011-12 season.
Oruche and the Nigerian team qualified for the Olympics for the first time in the nation’s history by virtue of their third-place finish earlier this summer at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. Nigeria defeated the Dominican Republic, 88-73, on July 8 to claim the final spot in the Olympic Tournament, Oruche played eight minutes in that contest and scored two points.
Ranked No. 21 in the latest FIBA rankings, Nigeria’s roster includes a number of players with college basketball experience in addition to Oruche, including Alade Aminu (Georgia Tech), Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest), Ike Diogu (Arizona State), Ekene Ibekwe (Maryland) and Tony Skinn (George Mason).
Nigeria Olympic Basketball Schedule
Sunday, July 29: vs. Tunisia (3 a.m. CDT)
Tuesday, July 31: vs. Lithuania (8:30 a.m. CDT)
Thursday, Aug. 2: vs. United States (4:15 p.m. CDT)
Saturday, Aug. 4: vs. Argentina (4:15 p.m. CDT)
Monday, Aug. 6: vs. France (8:30 a.m. CDT)
Pool Play Game One (July 29): Nigeria 60, Tunisia 56
Oruche and the Nigerian team earned a victory in their first game at the London Olympics, defeating fellow African competitor Tunisia, 60-56. Oruche played three minutes off the bench for Nigeria and did not record any stats. With the win, Nigeria is tied with Argentina and the United States for first place in Group A after the first day of Olympic play.
Pool Play Game Two (July 31): Lithuania 72, Nigeria 53
Oruche and Nigeria suffered its first loss of the Olympic Tournament on Tuesday, falling to Lithuania, 72-53. Oruche saw four minutes of action, grabbing one offensive rebound. Oruche took four field goal attempts in the contest but was unable to connect on any of his attempts.
Pool Play Game Three (August 2): United States 156, Nigeria 73
Oruche had his best game individually of the Olympic Tournament, scoring seven points with a pair of assists in 18 minutes on Thursday against the United States. The Nigerians were completely overmatched by the U.S. however, falling 156-73. Through three games of the five-game pool play, Nigeria is tied with Lithuania for fourth-place in Group A with a 1-2 record.
Pool Play Game Four (August 4): Argentina 93, Nigeria 79
Oruche and the Nigerian team fell to 1-4 on Saturday with a 93-79 setback against Argentina. Oruche made his first start of the tournament, playing 22 minutes with seven points on 3-of-8 shooting, two assists and one rebound. Nigeria wraps up pool play on Monday against France.
Pool Play Game Five (August 6): France 79, Nigeria 73
Nigeria gave France all it could handle and trailed by just two with four minutes remaining, but a late France run gave the French a 79-73 victory, dropping Nigeria to 1-4 and officially eliminating them from the Olympic Basketball Tournament. Oruche played 14 minutes and scored three points while also dishing out three assists.
Oruche played in all five games for Nigeria in the Olympic Tournament, playing a total of 61 minutes while averaging 3.4 points per contest. Oruche shot 7-of-22 from the field and dished out six assists while grabbing a pair of rebounds.