Men's national basketball team in world cup qualifier loss to Finland

Estonia's men's national basketball team lost at home to Finland 76:68 in Sunday's FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifier.

Point guard Kristian Kullamäe (BC Lietkabelis) told ERR post-match that: "[Finland] had more energy. In the recent games at the Saku Suurhall, we haven't been able to achieve a sufficient energy level to win with the support of the home crowd. We haven't done well at home.

Finland was, Kullamäe added: "A team with more or less the same style as us, but they were able to stick to their own things more today."

As to the EuroBasket 2022 picture - the competition starts Thursday - Kullmäe said that: "I think we will go there to fight. We have to get better in attack, the opponents have scouted us . We need to find some solutions, then I think it's completely okay."

"Our understanding of each other has improved since the beginning of August. We still have a lot to do. We have a week to get in shape and practice the match," Kullamäe went on.

Arizona Wildcats point Guard Kerr Kriisa meanwhile said of the match that: "Even though the score was even-stevens, we started relatively passively. Perhaps we should have been more aggressive, in front of a home crowd."

"In the third quarter, we stepped things up, and if we could play like that for 40 minutes, it would be very hard, but that hasn't happened yet."

While the hosts got off to a good start at the Saku Suurhall in Tallinn, Finland won the first quarter overall 24:15 and went into half-time with an 11-point lead.
Estonia closed the gap in the third quarter, however, going in to the final period three points down, only for shooting guard Henri Drell (Windy City Bulls) to be ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct and a technical foul. 

While Estonia was able to contain Finland's biggest star, small forward /power forward Lauri Markkanen, who plays for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, quite well, point guard Sasu Salin (Iberostar Tenerife) scored off five long shots and was more of a danger, as Finland went on to win 76:68.

Maik-Kalev Kotsar was Estonia's top scorer, with 14 points and nine rebounds, followed by Kriisa on 13 and Janari Jõesaar on 10. Henri Drell scored nine points, seven rebounds and took three steals in the 16 minutes he was on-court.-

The Finns have now won seven official games in a row, having defeated both Croatia and Slovenia twice, as well as Sweden, Israel, and now Estonia, meaning they are on course to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which starts almost a year to the day.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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