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Group:  B | 06.09.2008, 17:00h
Group:  B | 06.09.2008, 17:00h
81-88
20 - 1418 - 2520 - 2423 - 25
20 - 1418 - 2520 - 2423 - 25
Venue: Tallinn (EST) |
Spectators: 5000 |
Referees: Lars Klaar (SWE), Tomas Jasevicius (LTU), Janusz Calik (POL)

GAME REPORT


Latvia hold on despite Kikerpill–fueled Estonia comeback

Latvia followed up their dramatic midweek overtime triumph against FYR Macedonia with an 88-81 win at Estonia in a EuroBasket qualifying Group B clash on Saturday.

Latvia's fans were still buzzing about Kristaps Janicenoks' buzzer-beating three-pointer that sank the Macedonians in their Division A opener when they ran onto the floor to face Estonia, who had claimed a narrow win themselves over Portugal.

Janicenoks was again in the limelight in Saturday's Baltic battle. He and Golden State Warriors center Andris Biedrins scored 25 points apiece for the Latvians against Estonia.

The margin of victory in this game was not indicative of how close the contest was, however.

Latvia led 79-68 with 3:19 to play when Estonia staged a terrific fight-back.

The visitors fouled Tarmo Kikerpill while he was attempting a three-pointer and he punished them by making all three free throws.

After Janicenoks missed from long range, Gert Kullamäe passed to Kristjan Kangur and the forward nailed a jump shot to cut the gap to 79-73 with 2:17 remaining.

Latvia then did the unthinkable by again fouling the three-point shooter, and again it was Kikerpill who drew the contact.

He went to the line and made all three to trim the deficit to 79-76.

The Latvians looked as if they would weather the storm after Uvis Helmanis made two free throws for an 81-76 advantage.

Tanel Tein split one of two at the line for Estonia, though, and then Kikerpill, following a Janicenoks turnover, connected from long range to make it 81-80 with 35 seconds left.

After a Latvia timeout, Biedrins was off target with a jump shot but Helmanis was on hand for the tip-in to make it 83-80 with 17 seconds to play.

Tanel Sokk made one of two at the free throw line with nine seconds to go, and Helmanis rebounded for Latvia.

He was fouled and made two more free throws before Janicenoks added insult at the buzzer with a three-ball for the seven-point Latvia win.

Kullamäe had 16 points and Kikerpill 14 for Estonia, while Helmanis also scored 14 for Latvia.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Estonia vs. Latvia

Üllar Kerde, Estonia coach:

"I think we played pretty close to our best abilities. You can't ask much more when we are left with guys under the basket being my size, 170cm tall..."
 
Gert Kullamäe, Estonia player:

"It's very hard to say anything about the game right away. It's always hard to lose at home. I want to congratulate the Latvian team. Latvia have a big force underneath the basket and good guards on the perimeter. They are great team!"
 
Nenad Trajkovic, Latvia coach:

"I was very happy with our defense. We also kept our turnovers down to 11 and those two things together were enough to win us the game. Estonia played with a lot of energy and their shooters did their job again. The Estonian playing system is very uncomfortable for every opponent."
 
Andris Biedrins, Latvia player:

"We made a lot of mistakes in the end of the game and Estonia made a lot of three-point shots. We could had won easier than we did, but they have a good team and they played really well tonight."
 

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

42.6%

23/54
FG
M/A

51.7%

30/58

40.0%

10/25
FG2P
M/A

61.0%

25/41

44.8%

13/29
FG3P
M/A

29.4%

5/17

88.0%

22/25
FT
M/A

82.1%

23/28

27

10/17
RT
RO/RD

33

11/22

18

AS

15

15

TO

11

5

ST

7

2

BS

0

27

PF

24

81

Pts

88

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