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Estonia withstand late charge to hold off GB | World Cup Qualification

Head Coach Tony Garbelotto stuck to the same starters as for the game against Greece. Teddy Okereafor, Luke Nelson, Gareth Murray, Ovie Soko and Dan Clark starting.

And it was the Scot who was prominent in the Leicester Arena three days before who landed Britain’s first points – a comfortable three, picking up where he left off against Greece.

The visitors were slow off the blocks initially, with a passionate home crowd delivering the atmosphere Estonia needed. The hosts led 8-5 early on, but Britain, with Myles Hesson making an impact off the bench, saw all twelve players on during the opener.

All twelve players were used in the opener, which saw GB lead 24-18.

Despite picking up fouls, Estonia put the pressure on in the second. The home team posted their biggest lead of the night (5), with 3:02 remaining in the half.

Their outside shooting made the difference, with Estonia 5 from 9 in the second quarter, putting them 44-36 up at the break.

Coach Garbelotto stuck with the same starters at the start of the second half. But Saunders came off the bench and his immediate three cut the deficit to four, with 5:56 left in the third. Two Kieron Achara FTs reduced it further to two.

Layups from Hesson and Tarik Phillip made it 55-53 in the hosts’ favour, with 1:42 remaining. 59-57 is how it would finish with one quarter remaining.

The deficit was 4 with 6:15 remaining, but a 6-0 run saw the Estonians break it open into a margin of 10. Two Tarik Phillip free throws from an unsportsmanlike foul cut that back, as did Hesson’s touch in.

Two more from the line from Soko and GB had got the deficit down back to 4 with 3:26 remaining. Hesson was again on hand when Phillip’s courage in the drive paid off, to cut it to 2 and force an Estonian timeout.

In a see-saw conclusion, Estonia then got their lead back up to 7 inside the last two minutes but Britain would make things interesting, with two Phillip free throws and one from Soko.

GB trailed by 3 with 14.3 seconds remaining and stole it back, but couldn’t make the final 3poiint play to go down 73-70 in another tight game.

Image: P.Davies
Source: GB Basketball

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