Estonia roll over Great Britain, stay alive in Round of 16 chase
MILAN (Italy) - Estonia remain in the mix to qualify for the Round of 16 of FIBA EuroBasket 2022 with a 94-62 victory over Great Britain on Tuesday.
The Baltic team trailed only after Great Britain’s opening score, and used a 14-3 run midway through the first half, fueled by a three-point bombardment, to tighten their grip on proceedings.
Great Britain, minus Ovie Soko, conceded the first ten points of the third period to trail 59-35 as their own long-range shooting fell short, making 4-of-21 in the entire game. It came amid constant pressure from their opponents, who used their deeper rotation to good effect, running and attacking constantly and they were able to pull away further by holding GB scoreless for the opening six minutes of the fourth.
And, despite a team-best 14 points from Myles Hesson, GB will now be eliminated from the race to Berlin if Italy win against Croatia later in the day. That same result will also knock Estonia out of contention for a top-four spot in the group.
Turning Point: Inside 2 minutes and 10 seconds in the second period Henri Drell, Kirstjan Kitsing, Kerr Kriisa and Kitsing (again) all converted open three-pointers in a relentless stretch that stretched Estonia's lead to 36-21 and delivered an abundance of momentum.
TCL Player of the Game: Henri Drell was instrumental with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor in delivering Estonia's largest margin of victory in a EuroBasket game since 1939.
Stats Don’t Lie: In the first half, Estonia capitalized on patient offense and acute ball movement to convert 9-of-21 of their shots from three-point range. In that same spell GB went 2-for-11.
Bottom Line: Great Britain will be eliminated from contention for the Round of 16 if Italy defeat Croatia later. Otherwise, they retain a small chance of progressing via a potential three-way tiebreaker on Thursday. Estonia remain alive following a win which was only their second at a EuroBasket since 1993.
“We saw early that they were trying to play with a small roster and survive with 6-7 players on the rotation. We just wanted to push with a high energy, play good pressure and deny them. Make them work. Always push the ball up and make them move side to side. It was a tactic to bring more energy. Obviously you need to be smart also. But we attacked inside, got the ball close to the basket and I think that worked out pretty well for us.” - Estonia head coach Jukka Toijala
"The game plan was to put the ball in and out. And we knew that our big men are are really dominant, no matter who we play. so So we got some good looks from there and I think in the end, they couldn't really figure out the cross screens that we said and it was a good boost." - Kerr Kriisa
"We didn’t have it today. Mentally, we cracked again and it showed. Hopefully, we can come out in the last one against Italy, show improvement again, and find a way to keep battling.” - Great Britain head coach Nate Reinking