Estonian men's basketball team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 100-89 in Tartu

The Estonian men's basketball team defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 102-89 (16-22, 30-25, 33-12, 23-30) in the final match of the Ilmar Kullam 100 tournament at the Tartu on Sunday.

Bosnia and Herzegovina got off to a strong start, leading by 22 points to 9 at one stage in the first quarter. However, Estonia soon found a way back into the game and by half-time were just one point behind the visitors, who led 47-46.

After Estonia finally took the lead in the third quarter, there was no way back for their opponents. Bosnia and Herzegovina did reduce the points gap to less than ten on a couple of occasions in the fourth quarter, but were always kept at arm's length by the home side.

"Everybody tries to be ready to compete, but today we were definitely not. We came to watch, but we didn't come to compete," Estonian head coach Jukka Toijala told ERR after the game. "When we started to compete in defense, (then) the energy came to attack. We passed the ball, and 30 assists is quite a story in a game like this."

Maik-Kalev Kotsar was Estonia's top point scorer in the game, with 21, while Kerr Kriisa added 16 points and seven assists. Important contributions also came from Kristian Kullamäe, with 14 points and Kregor Hermet, who finished on 12. Bosnia and Herzegovina's leading scorer was Dzanan Musa, who ended the game with 21 points.

"We worked hard. It's good that the wins came. Emotionally, mentally it was very good," said Kotsar after the game.

Free throws were Bosnia and Herzegovina's undoing in the match, as the away side converted just 17 points from a possible 29. In comparison, Estonia made 14 of 17 from the free throw line. The visitors also conceded 21 turnovers to Estonia's 12.

Head coach Toijala was keen to emphasize that Estonia's points came from work in and around the basket, not just from long range efforts. "Maik (-Kalev Kotsar) and (Henri) Drell on breakthroughs and so on. It wasn't just three-point shots today," said Toijala.

Estonia's victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina means the home side win the Ilmar Kullam 100 tournament, after they also defeated Belgium 79-66 on Friday. In the tournament's other fixture, Belgium lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina 68-74.

The Ilmar Kullam 100 tournament was arranged as a warm up ahead of the upcoming 2022 FIBA Eurobasket finals in September. The tournament was named in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Estonian basketball player Ilmar Kullam. Kullam, who was born in Tartu, won three Eurobasket golds and one Olympic silver medal as a member of the Soviet Union team between 1947 and 1953 and, in 1997, was awarded the Order of the White Star, 5th class by Estonia.

The 2022 Eurobasket men's basketball finals will take place in Berlin, Cologne, Prague, Tbilisi and Milan. The Estonian team begin their campaign against Italy on September 2, before facing Ukraine, Croatia, Great Britain and Greece as they aim to make it through to the knock-out stages.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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