|Aleksandr Gudumak was a force for Russia when it counted, pouring in 18 points and pulling down 7 rebounds|
Russia delivered a solid performance on Saturday to register a 75-67 success over Bulgaria and claim third place in Group C and a spot in the Second Round at the Sportland U20 European Championship in Tallinn.
The Russians took the lead inside four minutes of play and, although they trailed Bulgaria momentarily midway through the second quarter, they shot the ball close to or over 50 percent from all spots on the floor well into the third quarter to hold the upper hand in the encounter.
Bulgaria could do little against the Russian shooting accuracy but kept the gap from reaching double-digit levels by stealing the ball a total of 15 times.
The Balkan side was were trailing 65-57 with seven minutes to play and got a chance to reduce the deficit further, but the urgency of the occasion and nerves go the better of them.
They turned the ball over two times and wasted a three more possessions by misfiring both from behind and inside the arc, while cool-as-ice Aleksandr Gudumak sparked and capped off an 8-0 Russia run that extended their lead to 73-57 with 3:42 on the clock.
Dimitar Dimitrov poured in eight almost consecutive points in the final two minutes in a last-ditch attempt to turn it around for Bulgaria, but it was too little too late.
Gudumak paved the way for Russia with 18 points and seven rebounds and Andrey Loginov contributed 13 points and eight boards.
They key to Russia's success however was their pluralism, as no less than 10 Russian players wrote their name on the score-sheet.
Dimitrov finished with 20 points and six rebouns for Bulgaria in a losing effort.