University of Tartu hang on to claim bronze

After doing half the work in Tallinn, University of Tartu finished the job at home, holding back Kalev/Cramo to just a one point win 67-68. This result was enough for Tartu to secure the third spot in the 2016/2017 Triobet BBL season.

 

University of Tartu had all the right cards entering the game – they already had a 12-point margin before the game and the backing of a loud home crowd to boost.

It was a battle between two equally matched sides and that was apparent from the opening minutes. While the hosts jumped ahead by a few initially, Kalev/Cramo responded with a 10-0 run and managed to reach a slim advantage after the first ten minutes.

Kalev/Cramo were up by five points early in the second quarter, but three consecutive three-pointers allowed the home side to get back ahead by four points. The two Estonian clubs went back and forth for the remainder of the game, and a close margin was clearly in Tartu’s favor.

The home team gained a five point advantage with just a couple of minutes to go and it looked all said and done, taking the first game into consideration. All Kalev/Cramo had left to fight for was victory that didn’t mean too much in the bigger picture.

University of Tartu couldn’t convert on numerous free-throw attempts and that gave Kalev/Cramo the keys to a one-point victory. Nevertheless, the Tartu players were the happier ones leaving the court.

Kalev/Cramo head coach Alar Varrak: "I can't say the series was done with the first game. I definitely believe we had our chances tonight, but even if we got the game under control for a bit, Tartu always found a way to come back. Of course I can't be happy with the result - I believed that this season, we could take the Triobet BBL gold medal, so anything below that is certainly not what I would have wanted. But tonight, the bronze went to Tartu. Congratulations to the winners!"

University of Tartu head coach Gert Kullamäe: "A classic second half in the series. We tried to keep the score low tonight, knowing well we had the +12 base, but also that if we let the opponents loose, that doesn't mean too much. I'm happy we succeeded in that category, and of course that we won the bronze. Even though it's a slight step down from last season, a medal is a medal. The only slight prick of tonight is that we didn't win the game, there were some definite issues in the last few minutes, but we won the series and that's what matters tonight."