Bulgaria, Sweden Avoid Relegation Round

17 July 2013

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10. Pavlin Ivanov (Bulgaria)
Pavlin Ivanov and Bulgaria made sure they are part of next year's Division A tournament by defeating Estonia

Bulgaria and Sweden will take their Sportland U20 European Championship campaign into Classification Round for 13th to 16th place, while hosts Estonia and Georgia will enter the fight to stave off relegation to Division B.

On Wednesday, Bulgaria registered their third consecutive victory in as many games in Group H and inflicted further trouble on the host nation of the tournament with a 68-58 success over Estonia.

The Balkan side were in control of proceedings almost uninterruptedly from the start of the encounter and held a 28-26 lead at the half-time interval, without however managing to pull away and gain a comfortable cushion.

Estonia breathed down the neck of their guests for almost 30 minutes and launched their assault just before the third buzzer.

The hosts went on a 7-0 run to bridge the third and fourth quarters and took a 48-47 lead on an Oliver Metsalu lay-up.

This basket sparked the most engaging sequence in the game as Pavlin Ivanov reacted immediately from three-point range to restore Bulgaria in the lead, 50-48, and then both sides drilled two three-pointers each on consecutive possessions within just 70 seconds.

Bulgaria's Kris Minkov was the one to hit the fifth triple in a row at the end of this frantic stretch to put his team ahead again, 56-54, and almost on cue, both sides entered a three-minute dry spell.

Deyan Karamfilov was the one to put an end to it, again from three-point range, and Bulgaria gained a precious five-point lead with 5:26 left on the clock.

Estonia replied with their first basket in three minutes but went silent again as Bulgaria used a final 9-0 run to put the game beyond reach.

Ivanov paved the way for the Bulgarians with 16 points, three rebounds and two assists while

7. Jonathan Person (Sweden)
Jonathan Person and Sweden do not have to worry about relegation any more after their win over Georgia

Dimitar Dimitrov collected a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds.

For Estonia, Mihkel Schleicher had 12 points while Metsalu and Martin Paasoja finished with 11 points apiece.

Also on Wednesday, the phlegmatic Swedes outscored Georgia 9-2 in the clutch to clinch a good-as-gold 66-62 win after trailing 60-57 with five minutes left to the final buzzer.

In a very tight encounter that reached its half-point mark with the two opponents tied at 35, and saw them still level at 52 after the third buzzer, Georgia paid for going through a dry spell at the worst possible time.

They missed six three-point attempts in the last four minutes of the clash (finished 6-for-28) while Sweden got all their points close to the rim, Jonathan Person sealing their win with two free throws seven seconds from time.

Niklas Larsson paved the way for the winners with 15 points and seven rebounds, Nicholas Spires contributed a double-double effort of 12 points and 15 rebounds and Person chipped in with 11 points.

For Georgia, Revaz Rogava finished with a game-high 19 points and Otar Pkhakadze added 16 points in losing efforts.


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