Group H Wrap: Bulgaria One Step Ahead

16 July 2013

U20 MEN

Bulgaria have placed themselves in an advantageous position to avoid the fight for relegation, after the completion of second day of action in Group H of the Classification Round for 13th to 20th place at the Sportland U20 European Championship.

The Bulgarians enjoyed an 85-44 rout of Georgia on Tuesday and lead the group with a 2-0 record.

They now depend entirely on themselves and will secure a top-two finish in the group even if they lose to Estonia on Wednesday, as long as the point differential is not bigger than five points.

8. Marcus Eriksson (Sweden)
Marcus Eriksson lit up the scoreboard for 24 points as Sweden took the win against Estonia

Sweden, who came back to defeat hosts Estonia 77-69 on Tuesday, will be safe if they beat Georgia on Wednesday.

The tournament hosts on the other hand need a win by seven points or more against Bulgaria, or a win by any margin in combination with a Swedish loss to Georgia.

Georgia meanwhile need a minor miracle to avoid the dreaded Classification Round for 16th to 20th place, as their only hope involves them defeating Sweden by 37 points or more, in combination with a Bulgarian victory over Estonia.

In the most interesting game of the group on Tuesday, Estonia started with determination and used an 11-0 run either way of the first buzzer to grab a 29-18 lead over Estonia at the start of the second quarter.

The hosts shot 55 percent from two-point range (Sweden only 34.8%) throughout the first half and carried a 42-32 advantage into the half-time interval.

But Marcus Eriksson and Jonathan Person decided to play the role of the ungrateful guests when the two teams returned from the locker rooms and they combined for 16 points in the third quarter to spark a 14-0 Sweden run and bring their team ahead, 57-54 at the end of the period.

The Swedes had turned the encounter on its head and showed no intention of letting victory slip out of their hands in the clutch.

They started off the fourth frame by outscoring Estonia 10-5 and then simply managed their lead with caution in the final five minutes of the clash.

15. Dimitar Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
Dimitar Dimitrov and Bulgaria can breath a little easier thanks to the win over Georgia

Eriksson led all scorers with 24 points, Person contributed 16 points, five rebounds and three assists and Nicholas Spires had a game-high 14 boards to go with his eight points.

For Estonia, Rait-Riivo Laane collected 21 points and Rauno Nurger 16 points in losing efforts.

In the other game in the group on Tuesday, Bulgaria kicked off proceedings by scoring eight unanswered points against Georgia and never looked back.

They were already leading by 12 points at the end of the opening quarter, 21-9, and their advantage ballooned to 27 points by the second buzzer.

All but one Bulgarian players that were used in the clash wrote their name on the scoresheet; Kris Minkov led all scorers with 15 points while Dimitar Dimitrov was one of three Bulgarians to collect 12 points but he also picked up 10 boards to register a double-double.

For Georgia, Otar Pkhakadze had 14 points, three rebounds and three assists in defeat.


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