Estonian basketball team wins 94-62 against Great Britain in EuroBasket
The Estonian men's basketball team recorded their first win of the 2022 EuroBasket Championship on Tuesday, defeating Great Britain 94-62.
After narrow defeats against Ukraine and Croatia in their two previous outings, Estonia made sure of the points here, with a comfortable win. Once Henri Drell had given the Estonian team a 4-2 lead with two baskets in quick succession, the result never seemed in doubt.
Estonia were 24-18 in front after the first quarter, extended their lead to 13 points by half time, with a series of three-pointers, to lead 49-36. In the second half, Estonia continued to dominate, increasing the gap to 25 points, at 78-53.
Both teams made errors and missed shots at the start of the final quarter, with neither side adding to the scores for the first three minutes, however by this point it was clear that Estonia would come out on top, winning the quarter 16-9 and taking the game at 94-62.
Henri Drell was Estonia's top scorer with 20 points, three rebounds and one assist, with captain Siim-Sander Vene adding 18 points, and Maik-Kalev Kotsar also scoring 15, plus eight rebounds.
After the game, Estonian captain Vene said, the team had enjoyed this game more than their previous EuroBasket matches, and that they were still hoping to cause an upset in their final group game against Greece.
"There was more space (today)," said Vene. "During the game, you could see that we weren't going to give it away. Then it got a lot easier and a lot more fun," he added.
"I think it's been stressed quite a lot that youngsters are hungry, and they want to prove themselves all the time. To each other, to themselves, and it's good to watch," said Vene.
While the Estonian side still have a chance of qualifying for the next round of the tournament, the odds appear to be stacked against them. With just one match remaining, against group leaders Greece, who have won all four of their games so far, the Estonian side will need to put in quite a performance to get the win they need to progress.
"As long as there is a theoretical chance, (even though) it's pretty slim, we're still hopeful," said Vene. "Greece is a team with one of the great superstars (Giannis Antetokounmpo, who plays for Milwaukee Bucks – ed.), very good defensive players, who pass the ball well and can control the game. They are one of the favorites (for the tournament). They are tough opponents," he continued. "We have nothing to lose. We just need to finish in a good way, to get a good feeling from the tournament and then everyone can go into their (domestic) seasons in high spirits," said Vene.
Estonia's final group game in the 2022 men's EuroBasket Championships against Greece, takes place on Thursday, September 8 at 18:00 Estonian time.
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Editor: Michael Cole