The Americans could do no wrong on the basketball court Thursday, steamrolling the Nigerian team by a score of 156-73, lead by Carmelo Anthony's 37 points in just 14 minutes. However, a foreign reporter raised the question of whether there was wrong-doing on the part of the coach.
Following the game, Nigerian head coach Ayodele Bakare was asked whether he believed the United States was trying to run up the score. According to Frank Isola of the Daily News, Coach Bakare thought nothing of the unbalanced score, but Mike Krzyzewski felt the need to address the question himself.
“We didn't play LeBron [James] and Kobe [Bryant] in the second half, and with Carmelo (Anthony) shooting like that, we benched him," Krzyzewski said after Anthony scored a U.S. Olympic record of 37 points in 14 minutes and 29 seconds. "We didn't take any fast breaks in the fourth quarter, and we played all zone. You have to take a shot every 24 seconds, and the shots we took happened to be hit.
“I take offense to this question because there’s no way in the world that our program in the United States sets out to humiliate anymore.”
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Nigerians were quick to Krzyzewski's defense.
Former NBA forward and focal point of the Nigerian team Ike Diogu said, "They didn't go out of their way to humiliate us...I didn't feel like that." Coach Bakare revealed, "Coach K is one of the biggest influences on my coaching career," then joked "something he might deny after the result of this game."