Despite scoring only five points in the fourth quarter, Estonia had enough to defeat Denmark 51-50 in the team’s EuroBasket qualifying round opening game.
Thanks to a strong second quarter and a key defensive play from Vallo Allingu in the game’s waning seconds, Estonia still had enough to maintain their lead, even though they did not score over the final 6:18 of the fourth quarter.
Leading 19-17 in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Estonia went on a 13-5 run to close the first half up 32-22.
The Estonians would never relinquish their lead, but they sure made it interesting.
Trailing by 10 to start the fourth, Denmark scored the first five points of the fourth to cut the deficit in half.
Baskets from Estonia's Tanel Tein and Tarmo Kikerpill in between a Denmark field goal gave the Baltic giants a 51:43 with 6:18 to go.
Estonia wouldn’t find the basket the rest of the game and Denmark’s Christian Drejer scored five points of his 10 points over a three-minute stretch. His free throws with 59 seconds remaining allowed Denmark to close the Estonia advantage to 51-50.
Following another empty possession for Estonia, Denmark’s had the opportunity to take the lead with 20 seconds remaining.
They called timeout and then got the ball to Drejer, but Allingu came up with the defensive play of the night for Estonia by blocking the Danish small forward’s shot with three seconds remaining.
Kikerpill came up with the rebound for Estonia and time out would run out on Denmark’s comeback bid.
Along with the defensive play, Allingu was also Estonia’s top scorer with 12 points.
The Danish were plagued by 21 turnovers for the game.