Latvian comeback sends Estonia out of the European Championship
Estonia gave away a 15-point lead to lose 64:75 to Latvia in the must-win last group-round match at the 2015 European Championship in Riga.
Estonia began well, scoring 29 points in the first quarter and led by 15 points before Latvia began to take back the game at the end of the second quarter.
The Estonian team's game completely evaporated in the third quarter, despite thousands of Estonian fans watching the game at the arena. Leading 47:36, Estonia scored zero points in 7.36 minutes as Latvia rebounded 15:0, taking the lead at the end of the third quarter (55:49).
The Latvian comeback slowed as Estonia began to fight back, minimizing Latvia's lead to 2 points, but the team could not do enough, losing the last quarter 15:20 and the game 64:75.
Gregor Arbet scored 16 points, Janar Talts 12 and Joosep Toome 10 points.
Estonia began the tournament in the worst possible fashion, losing by wide margins to the Czech Republic and Belgium. Estonia beat Ukraine in the third game, and was just seconds away from beating Lithuania, but still managed to lose (64:62). Watch the highlights of that game here. As four teams from the six-strong group go on to the play-off round, held in France, Estonia needed to beat Latvia to leapfrog the hosts to fourth place. Now it will be the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Belgium and Latvia which travel to France.
The Estonian fans in Riga organized a human chain around the stadium prior to the match, with 5,000 watching the game at the arena.
Jüri Ratas, head of the Estonian Basketball Association, celebrates with thousands of Estonian fans gathered around the arena (Photo: Siim Semiskar/ERR Sport).
The Estonian line-up was Sten-Timmu Sokk, Tanel Sokk, Rain Veideman, Gert Dorbek, Gregor Arbet, Siim-Sander Vene, Tanel Kurbas, Erik Keedus, Kristjan Kangur, Reinar Hallik, Joosep Toome and Janar Talts.
The last time Estonia played at the European Championship was in 2001, when the team lost all of its group games. In 1993, Estonia managed to beat Germany, the eventual winner that year, in its first group game, and went on to claim sixth place.
Estonian mascot Ilves, Estonian for lynx. No relation to Toomas Hendrik (Photo: Siim Semiskar/ERR Sport).