Group:  B | 01.08.2013, 20:00h
Group:  B | 01.08.2013, 20:00h
Venue: Den Bosch (NED) |
Spectators: 1000 |
Referees: Joseph Bissang (FRA), Moritz Reiter (GER), Keith Williams (ENG)


Dutch Hold Off Estonia In Opener

6. Worthy De Jong (Netherlands)
Worthy De Jong was one of five players in double digits for the Netherlands)

Estonia came back from an 18-point deficit but the Netherlands held on to register a 74-71 win at home in the two teams' opening game in Group B of the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round.

After the Dutch claimed their first lead in the encounter three minutes after tip-off, they started making the most of their ability to score in transition and Estonia's poor shooting selection and pulled away steadily, until they reached a 38-20 lead midway through the second quarter.

Estonia however, who got 17 points off Dutch turnovers, regained their offensive balance and improved their shooting accuracy to begin chipping away on the deficit.

The Dutch still held a 42-33 lead at the half-time interval but their advantage would drop even further in the second half, albeit they stayed in the driver's seat at all times thanks to their superiority on the glass (rebounds 42-27 for the hosts).

The Netherlands went into the final two minutes with a five-point advantage and both teams wasted valuable possessions before Estonia's Gregor Arbet sunk a triple with 21 seconds left on the clock to reduce the gap to just two points, 71-69.

Estonia immediately fouled Sean Cunningham, who split two free throws to make it 72-69 for the Netherlands, with 16 second left to play.

The Dutch however defended well and rather than allowing their guests to attempt a three-pointer to tie the scores, Robin Smeulders stole the ball and was fouled.

The big man hit both of his shots from the line to give his team a five-point cushion, 74-69, and effectively seal victory 10 seconds from the final buzzer, as the only thing Estonia could do on their final possession was to reduce the final point differential on a Janar Talts dunk.

Five players scored in double digits for the winners, with Joshua Duinker and Kees Akerboom collecting 13 points each, the former also picking up eight rebounds.

Estonia's Reinar Hallik led all scorers with 20 points while Talts finished with 17 points and nine boards in a losing effort.


Quotes Netherlands vs. Estonia

Netherlands head coach Toon van Helfteren
"We knew the first game was a very important one. I expected a tough game. It was great to record a home win in front of such an unexpected large crowd. We want to be a strong defensive team. And that's what we were tonight.

"Satisfied. That's how I feel at thew moment. Very satisfied!

"I have a young team. We have players with little experience. But losing an 18 point lead in the game didn't make me nervous. My players worked hard troughout the game and played with discipline. And in the end it all worked out."

Netherlands captain Kees Akerboom
"This is a new start for us. with a new coach and a new program. You can tell by the number of turnovers. But we make progression, each and and every day. What I admire in this team is the great work ethic. Despite al the little mistakes, everybody sticks together and everybody keeps working as hard as they can."

Estonia head coach Tiit Sokk
"The first game is always hard. Playing the first game away makes it even harder. The key to this game was that we gave away too many easy baskets in transition. Another key factor was rebounding.They beat us 42 to 27 in rebounding.

"At the end it was a close game. It was good to see that my players were able to fight themselves back into the game. But we kept giving them easy baskets. If you do that, you can't win a game."

Estonia player Rain Veideman
"It is exactly as the coach says. We gave them too many easy baskets. The first half was a less than a disaster for us."

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