Nigeria’s men basketball team, D’Tigers suffered a 96-87 defeat to Spain early on Friday morning at the ongoing Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The Spaniards, who were silver medalists at the last two Olympics, held off Nigeria in a game that started in a nearly entirely empty arena while police exploded a suspicious backpack.
Rio’s anti-bomb squad conducted a controlled explosion at the Olympic basketball venue ahead of the tie.
This follows two previous controlled explosions at the Games, the first last Friday outside the beach volleyball venue and the second on Saturday at the finish line of the women’s road cycling race.
A statement from Rio 2016’s organizers said an abandoned backpack was found at the Olympic Park’s Carioca Arena 1 shortly before the crowd was due to be allowed into the venue.
They were kept outside while experts assessed the situation and then detonated the backpack. Journalists, officials, and players were in the building but were not considered to be in danger.
The statement added that when the bag’s remains were inspected, it was found to contain a tablet computer, a pair of socks and a jacket.
Ticket-holders were admitted immediately afterward and the game started on time, with Spain beating Nigeria 96-87.
Nigeria’s coach, William Voigt, had been briefed but said it wasn’t the reason for his team’s slow start.
“I decided not to really say anything to anyone else,” he said. “I didn’t want it to be a distraction, but I knew and certainly when whatever was detonated went off I think it was something everybody noticed.”
Fans were allowed in later in the first quarter and the Nigerians rallied to take a one-point lead into the fourth.
But Gasol finished with 24 points to help Spain pull away.