|17 August 2009|
Ukraine claimed a heart-stopping 75-72 win in overtime at Estonia in the EuroBasket Relegation Round on Monday after another dominating performance from their 23-year-old center Oleksiy Pecherov.
The Minnesota Timberwolves center poured in 29 points and pulled down 17 rebounds in the victory.
He had scored 28 and hauled in 17 boards in last Friday's triumph over Hungary.
The win in Tallinn has left Ukraine with a 3-2 record, the same as Hungary and the Czech Republic, and kept alive their chances of staying in Division A.
Ukraine's home game against the Czechs on Thursday will determine the second team to remain in the top flight.
The side that loses that game will join Estonia (1-4) in Division B. The Estonians' relegation was secured with this setback.
Ukraine almost lost on Monday.
They trailed 67-63 in the final two minutes of regulation but came back to level the game when Andriy Agafonov and Oleksandr Kolchenko each made two free-throws.
The Estonians' Tanel Sokk had an opportunity to win at the death but he was off target with a jump shot before time expired.
Estonia appeared to put that disappointment behind them when taking a 72-67 lead with 3:47 remaining in the extra period after a three-pointer from Kristjan Kangur and a jump shot from Gregor Arbet.
The Baltic outfit wasn't able to build on the lead, however, and Ukraine came back.
A jump shot by Olexiy Onufriyev was followed by four straight points from Maksym Vilkhovetskyi - he made a lay-up and sank two free-throws - put the visitors in front to stay.
Ukraine added two more free-throws for the final score.
Defeat was hard on Estonia and especially Kangur, who finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds.