|Jan Grzelinski delivered an outstanding all-round performance for Poland|
Poland commenced victorious their U20 European Championship campaign after eking out an 85-78 win over Bulgaria in an encounter that featured 14 lead changes and saw the scores tied on nine occasions.
Turning Point: Bulgaria went ahead 76-72 on Nikolay Stoyanov's 17th point in the game with just 2:38 left to play but Damian Jeszke replied swiftly with a mid-range jumper and then drilled a three-pointer on the next possession to give Poland a 77-76 lead, with 1:36 on the clock. The Polish held on the rest of the way as they made all six of their free-throws in the inevitable trips to the foul line in the dying seconds.
Game Heroes: Although Jeszke was undeniably Poland's hero in the clutch, point guard Jan Grzelinski carried the Polish during long stretches and he finished with a game-high 21 points, also adding seven assists and five rebounds. Bulgaria's Aleksandar Vezenkov registered the first double-double of the tournament, collecting 20 points and 15 boards.
Stats Don't Lie: Poland out-rebounded Bulgaria 44 to 32, with 17 of their boards coming on the offensive glass. While they should have done better with them than scoring ten second-chance points, these were still golden in such a tight affair.
The Bottom Line: In a group where there is likely to be plenty of too-close-for-comfort encounters, Poland have survived their first test and will gain in confidence ahead of their upcoming clashes with Russia and France.