|Kris Minkov paced Bulgaria in the final quarter|
Bulgaria edged out Latvia 74-72 on Saturday following a very tight contest to conclude their campaign at the U20 European Championship on Crete in 15th place.
Turning Point: The clash had already featured nine lead changes when, 4:34 from the final buzzer, Velislav Galabov sunk two free throws to bring Bulgaria ahead once again, 64-63. Bulgaria got a stop on defence and Nikolay Stoyanov scored in transition to make it 66-63 and, after Anzejs Pasecniks replied for Latvia, Deyan Karamfilov and Kris Minkov drilled one triple each in quick succession to give Bulgaria a 70-63 cushion, with just 1:43 left on the clock.
Game Hero: Minkov scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to energise Bulgaria in the tight finale and added four rebounds and five assists for good measure.
Stats Don't Lie: Bulgaria were always on the watch to intercept careless Latvian passes and came up with nine steals. They were also more economical with their shot selection, as they made the same number of shots from the floor (24) but in ten attempts less.
The Bottom Line: Bulgaria have every reason to feel satisfied with their 15th place in this tournament as a newly-promoted side to Division A. Latvia on the other hand have dropped 14 positions this year, as they were silver medallists in the 2013 edition of the competition, in Estonia.