Great Britain are heading out of EuroBasket 2022 after a 94-62 rout to Estonia.

Not as much as defeat, as an evisceration. In a game billed as potentially deciding sixth and last place in Group C, GB were duly sliced open and left to bleed on the floor.

And later, their elimination was confirmed with Italy’s 81-76 victory over Croatia confirming Nate Reinking’s side will finish bottom of their pool.

And while there is immense sympathy for the players and coaches who have not received the support they deserve, the court has no mercy.

The Brits were bested here, and by some distance, blown out of the water in the second half.

“You could see it even a little bit in the first half,” Reinking said. “Our rotations weren’t there. We weren’t closing the bodies on the three-point line as quickly as possible.

“They execute extremely well and they are consistent with what they do. It cracked us again. When you go down like that, we would have to be extremely mentally strong to battle back and it’s tough to do against a really good team.”

Gabe Olaseni, winning his 50th cap, scored the opening basket but it provided GB’s lone lead.

A 10-2 run propelled Estonia – a nation of 1.1 million people – ahead for good and their unshakeable belief shone brightly.

Dominating inside initially, with 16 of their first 24 points coming in the paint, and 6 off GB turnovers. They switched outside in the second with Henri Drell, Kirstjan Kitsing (twice) and Kerr Kriisa all burying open three-pointers to build a 36-21 lead and delivered an abundance of momentum.

Down 49-36 at half-time, Great Britain had gone 2/11 from deep. Apart from Myles Hesson – provider of a team-best 14 points – there was limited offensive production with Ovie Soko an absentee due to “precautionary soreness”.

When Estonia began the third period with a 10-0 run, it was a mere taster, their advantage ascending to keep their own chances of qualification alive as Nate Reinking’s men fell deeper and deeper into the mire.

“We saw early that they were trying to play with a small roster and survive with 6-7 players on the rotation,” Estonia head coach Jukka Toijala revealed. “We just wanted to push with a high energy, play good pressure and deny them. Make them work. Always push the ball up and make them move side to side.

“It was a tactic to bring more energy. Obviously you need to be smart also. But we attacked inside, got the ball close to the basket and I think that worked out pretty well for us.”

And with Drell notching 20 points and his time going 14/31 from three-point range, GB were held scoreless for the initial six minutes of the fourth as the blowout was completed. “We were a step behind the whole time,” Hesson acknowledged. Added Luke Nelson, “I’m depressed, embarrassed and upset.”

Now for one last showing, against the Italians, on Thursday night. With a horrific points differential, even a shock win will surely be a mere consolation prize.

Something positive, Reinking hopes, must come from it.

“Just to see the guys compete together again and be proud of putting on that jersey,” he added. “They’ve got through a lot to get here and I hope they feel a sense of pride and enjoy the moment of playing in a tournament against elite competition because of the effort they’ve put in over the years to get to this stage.”


Later in Group C, Giannis Antetokounmpo hit 41 points to drive Greece to overpower Ukraine 99-79 and clinch top spot in Group C with a game to spare.

Group C standings: 1. Greece (4-0*), 2. Ukraine (3-1*) , 3. Italy (2-2*), 4. Croatia (2-2*),  5. Estonia (1-3), 6. Great Britain (0-4) *qualified

Game StatsUpdates

Game Notes

GB starters v Estonia: Wheatle Nelson, Mockford, Hesson, Olaseni – Gabe Olaseni picked up his 50th GB cap

●      Estonia won by a 32-point margin, their largest win in a EuroBasket game since 1939 when they beat Finland by a 90-point differential.

●      Estonia made 94 points, the most for them in a EuroBasket game since 1993 when they made 99 points against Bosnia and Herzegovina. They have also made 14 shots from behind the arc, the most for them in a single EuroBasket game ever.

●      Henri Drell (Estonia) scored 20 points, the most for him in a EuroBasket game – his previous most were 10 against Ukraine in gameday 2. He also made more 3-pointers today (3) than in any of his previous encounters.

●      Maik-Kalev Kotsar has now made 15+ points and 5+ rebounds in three games in the EuroBasket, more than any other player with Estonia in the competition since 1995.

●      Carl Wheatle (Great Britain) made his first double-double in the EuroBasket, combining for 12 points and 11 rebounds, after averaging 6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in his three previous encounters.

Images: Mansoor Ahmed


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