The Estonian national basketball team started its FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 qualification journey with a sweet 69:66 victory over Germany.
Estonia was able to take the surprising victory in Nuremberg, Germany, behind great performances by Kristian Kullamäe (15 points, 7 assists), Kaspar Treier (15 points) and Siim-Sander Vene (14 points).
Neither team was able to separate much in the first half with the Germans taking a four-point lead into half. A competitive third quarter finished with Estonia taking a 55:53 lead into the deciding quarter.
Both teams started slow in the final quarter, but the hosts took a 61:55 lead some six minutes before the end of the game. Estonia fought its way back into the match and Treier put them ahead four minutes before the end of the fourth quarter.
With the teams level at 64:64, national team captain and three-time Estonian Basketball Player of the Year Siim-Sander Vene went to work in the post and thit a hook shot just 17 seconds before the final buzzer, after which Rauno Nurger and Kullamäe were able to play the intentional foul game and Estonia came out of Germany with a surprising 69:66 victory.
The hosts were kept to below 35 percent from the field overall, while Estonia were above 55 percent from beyond the arc as they hit 11 three-pointers to fuel their victory effort.
The victory was nothing short of a perfect start to the qualification tournament for Estonia. The national team next hosts Israel on Sunday with the winner of the game taking the top spot in Group D.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste