MINSK, 23 August (BelTA) - The Belarusian national men’s basketball team overpowered Estonia in the first semifinal match of the EuroBasket 2015 first qualifying round, BelTA has learnt.
The game was played at the sports complex Olimpiyets in Mogilev. Belarus secured a 76:70 (21:25, 19:12, 11:6, 25:27) victory over the Estonian opponents. In the first quarter the guests and the hosts were in front by turns. Moreover, Estonia led Belarus by four points. However, Belarus’ head coach Ruslan Baidakov found necessary words to say to his team and at the beginning of the second quarter Belarus managed not only to level the score but also gain a five-point advantage to make it 36:29. By the end of the first half Belarus were three points in front 40:37.
Estonia emerged for the second half in good mood and played quicker but the Belarusians held on to their lead. In the last two minutes the fans on the stands of Olimpiyets witnessed a sheer drama. Estonia’s Kristian Kangur scored a three-pointer with 1:37 remaining on the clock thus decreasing Belarus’ lead to only one point, 69:68. Belarus’ Pavel Ulyanko then scored his three-pointer to make 72:68. His shot was quite a big risk as Belarus had about ten seconds for their attack on the shot-clock. Estonia’s Tanel Sokk replied quickly with a lay-up for a 72:70 scoreline. However, this was the last Estonian points that evening.
Belarus’ veteran Alexander Kudryavtsev then threw from the free-throw line to extend his side’s lead to 74:70. Just three seconds from the final buzzer he scored once again earning final two points for Belarus which now has a six-point advantage prior to the return in Estonia.
Alexander Kudryavtsev became a top scorer in the Belarusian team with 21 points. Nikita Meshcheryakov scored 15 points while Artyom Parakhovsky 13 points.
The return game will take place in Tallinn on 25 August. The winner of the two-match tie will advance to the final to play against the winter of the other pair Bulgaria vs. Switzerland. On 22 August Bulgaria chalked up a comfortable 92:71 win over the Swiss team. The return game will take place in Switzerland, also on 25 August.