Spain shrugged off a security scare that meant they tipped off in an empty arena as the 2012 silver medalists got an all-important first Olympic basketball win Thursday over Nigeria, 96-87.
Spain, which also took silver in 2008, trailed underdog Nigeria by a point to start the fourth period, but balanced scoring down the stretch from their veteran Olympians helped them avoid a third straight loss.
Spain, which is ranked number two in the world and was bridesmaid in the past two Games to the powerful USA squad of NBA stars, built an early lead over the lightly regarded Nigerians.
But the Africans closed the gap on the strength of 13 three-pointers including seven from red-hot shooting guard Chamberlain Oguchi.
The win helps keep alive Spain’s hopes of advancing to the medal rounds despite last-second losses to Croatia and Brazil to open the competition.Big man Pau Gasol finished with 16 points and guard Ricky Rubio had 15.
Spain is now 1-2, while Nigeria drops to 0-3.