Estonia enjoyed the comforts of home to open the Toyota Tallinn 4 Nations Cup and recorded a cruising 85-65 win over Iceland. The win gave the Estonians a major boost in their preparations for the upcoming 2015 European Championship as it was the first time this summer that the country has recorded back to back victories.
At the start of the game Estonia doubled down on defence and were rewarded with an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The hosts continued to do the work at both ends of the floor and during the second quarter started to take full control of the game. By half-time Estonia had added to its lead, the scoreboard now reading 40-28. It was already looking ominous and the home team used the third act to consolidate, holding the lead between 12 and 8 points throughout the frame. However, Iceland managed to produce enough to stay in the contest and through thirty minutes stood 10 points adrift (60-50). In this game, which Estonia had always led, that 10 point gap simply proved too much, especially as the hosts pushed through the gears to swamp Iceland in the fourth, winning the game with ease.
Siim-Sander Vene is the guy to watch for Estonia, here he produced 9-for-14 shooting to lead the scoring with 19 points, while he went close to a double-double with 9 rebounds. Gregor Arbet was next in line with 14 points and 7 boards for the winners, followed by Rain Veideman secured 11 points and Sten-Timmu Sokk with 10 points.
Jon Stefansson, so often Iceland’s primary threat, was missing and the visitors suffered from downtown as a result, hitting just 5 of their 17 triple attempts. Haukur Palsson collected 17 points for the losing effort while Hlynur Baeringsson had 14 points and seven rebounds.
“Iceland was a difficult opponent and we knew beforehand that this was going to be the case,” revealed Estonia head coach Tiit Sokk afterwards.
“Luckily, we started off on a great run and snatched a double-digit lead early on and that helped us during the remainder of what was a tough game.
“It is true that we did not play inside too much and we shot a lot from the perimeter (Estonia attempted 33 two-point shots and 31 three-point shots) but that does not mean that this was not what we were looking to do.”