Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Italy's captain, Nicolo Melli, was the difference-maker in Saturday's win over Nigeria that secured Italy second place in a group and a ticket to the Olympic quarter-finals.

Player of the Game
Achille  Polonara
EFF
14
Achille Polonara
Points 13
Accuracy 5-8
Rebounds 5
Assists 2

After the game, Melli was asked if the performance during the final period of the game showed the pride of the captain. "No, the final quarter showed the pride of the team, not just me," acknowledged veteran forward who recently signed with the AX Armani Exchange Milan.

Since the Qualifying tournament in Belgrade, Serbia, Melli has always spoken very highly of this group, praising multiple times the character and the personality of the players. Despite not having a great contribution from NBA star Danilo Gallinari so far, the team coached by Meo Sacchetti is showing great team basketball and a lot of defensive energy. Melli, Polonara, Mannion, Fontecchio are sharing the offensive load and all the other guys are bringing something to the table every game.

"We played three tough games. Against Germany, we recovered in the last five minutes. Against Australia, we tried until the end and we didn't close the gap. With Nigeria it was important we stayed in the game because we finished the third quarter down by 8 but we started really well with our defense in the fourth quarter. We closed the gap and had 4-5 great defenses to break open the game and that was important," said Italy head coach Meo Sacchetti after an important victory. Sacchetti has a silver medal, which he earned as a player in the 1980 Olympics. Now he's two wins away from a coaching medal.

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Italijos rinktinÄ—
Nigerijos rinktinÄ—
40%
28/70
Field goals
40%
25/62
40
Rebounds
39
16
Assists
11
8
Steals
7
3
Blocks
2
72
Efficiency
47

Best players

Nicolo  Melli
15 PTS
6/12 FG
2/2 FT
Chimezie  Metu
22 PTS
7/11 FG
2/2 FT
Michele  Vitali
6 REB
6 DREB
0 OREB
Chimezie  Metu
10 REB
9 DREB
1 OREB
Italy
Few players
4 As
Chimezie  Metu
3 As
2 TO
32 MIN
Achille  Polonara
14 EFF
75% 2P%
50% 3P%
Chimezie  Metu
32 EFF
25% 2P%
86% 3P%