Ukraine recovered with a 79-75 win over Bulgaria in the Classification Round of the OMNITEL U18 European Championship at Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania on a Tuesday afternoon.
|Klym Artamonov chipped in 13 points to keep Ukrainian hopes alive|
This is the debut win for Ukraine in this round, enough to take a 1-1 record, while Bulgaria's situation is becoming complicated after losing both games so far.
Olexiy Len had another big day with impressive numbers as he posted 26 points, 18 rebounds and 3 blocks, Klym Artamonov added 18 with 9 rebounds and Oleksandr Prokopenko finished with 13.
Pavlin Ivanov hit 21 points in addition to 7 rebounds and 5 assists, while Tencho Tenchev and Samuel Francis scored 13 each.
Ukraine used a step up by Dmytro Marchenko in the closing minute to take over the game and get the W after Bulgaria grabbed the lead in the closing quarter.
The losing side enjoyed a good shooting day with 10 three pointers but saw Ukraine out rebound them 57-35.
Len scored the first 7 points in the game, but Ivanov was active with the ball and gave his team a 15-19 lead after 8 minutes.
Artamonov led Ukraine for another 7-0 run to grab the lead back, 31-25, and his three pointer set the gap on 10 with only 4 minutes to play in the first half.
Tenchev combined 5 points in a row to cut the margin by half at the break, but Len showed his dominance early in the 2nd half to make it a 10 point game again.
Bulgaira didn't give up as Ivanov and Tenchev led them back to the game, now even to take a 54-55 lead late in the 3rd, and continue the momentum after the short break.
Inside the last 5 minutes of the game, Ukraine was already behind by 5, but Len and Marchenko changed the face of the game, and led a 10-2 run to decide it.
Ukraine will face Sweden tomorrow and Bulgaria will seek their first win versus the unbeaten Germany.