|Kaloyan Ivanov paved the way for Bulgaria with a team-high 17 points |
Bulgaria have become the first team to reach the final of the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round, after registering a comfortable 87-67 victory over Switzerland on the road on Sunday.
The Bulgarians punched their ticket to the final on the back of a triumphant 41-point win on aggregate, as last Thursday they had claimed a 92-71 success against the Swiss in the first leg of their semi-final tie, at home.
The Balkan side made their intentions crystal clear right from the start on Sunday, despite the fact they were entering the second leg in possession of a valuable 21-point cushion.
Bulgaria grabbed the initiative right from tip-off, gradually built a 15-point advantage in the second quarter and returned to the locker rooms with a 45-31 lead at the half-time interval, as 11 of their players had already written their name on the score-sheet.
Trailing by a 35 point-differential on aggregate, Switzerland knew that they had to react immediately and decisively and they started the third quarter on a 10-0 run, reducing the gap to just 45-41 to the delight of the local crowd.
But the return of Kaloyan Ivanov on the court provided Bulgaria with the calm they needed on the offensive end and they ended the third frame with a 10-0 run of their own, to extend their lead to 60-46 and effectively kill off the contest.
Kaloyan Ivanov paced the winners with 17 points and five rebounds and Veselin Veselinov added 11 points, while Kaloyan's twin brother Deyan, as well as Pavel Ivanov and Aleksandar Georgiev all chipped in with 10 points each.
Switzerland's Clint Capela finished with a game-high 19 points and added six rebounds in a losing effort.