Latvia Hold Off Bulgaria To Advance

Kalvis Krumins had 22 points and six assists in leading Latvia to an 80-75 win over Bulgaria to advance to the Qualfiying Round of the U18 European Championship Men.

Latvia survived a late comeback by the Bulgarians to clinch their first victory in Group D as Martins Laksa added 12 points and Kristers Zeidaks had 11 points.

Bulgaria will play against relegation to Division B after their third straight loss despite 29 points from Aleksandar Yanev and 16 points by Hristo Zahariev.

The game was tight early and even at 11-11 before Krumins converted a three-point play and hit a three-ball in opening a 19-11 lead. Varis Krumins's team were up 25-18 after one period. Girts Celms and Armands Osins knocked down three-balls as the margin was 37-28 midway through the second quarter.

But Yanev sparked a Bulgarian comeback, hitting two triples and converting a three-point play and Bozhidar Avramov's foul shots completed a 12-2 run for a 40-39 lead. And Yordan Kolev's side were up 44-33 at the break.

Latvia started the second half with a 6-0 run but was answered by an 8-0 Bulgaria spurt. The Latvians were leading 60-57 after three periods. Davis Rozitis came off the bench for back-to-back baskets to spark a 10-2 Latvia run for a 70-59 lead.

The margin was still 78-69 after Oto Osenieks's two foul shots with 43 seconds to play. After Zahariev and Yanev knocked down three-balls to make it 78-75, Celms turned the ball over with 20 seconds left. But Vasil Kyosev missed a three-pointer with six seconds remaining and Krumins hit two foul shots with a second to play.

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