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22.08.2013, 19:30h
22.08.2013, 19:30h
92-71
25 - 1719 - 2424 - 2024 - 10
25 - 1719 - 2424 - 2024 - 10
Venue: Sofia (BUL) |
Spectators: 1500 |
Referees: Spyridon Gontas (GRE), Miodrag Licina (SRB), Milos Koljensic (MNE)

GAME REPORT


Bulgaria Stun Swiss With Strong Finish

21. Nikolay Varbanov (Bulgaria)
Nikolay Varbanov was one of three players to pick up 12 points for the Bulgarians

Bulgaria will carry a 21-point advantage into the second leg of their EuroBasket 1st Qualification Round semi-final tie with Switzerland after storming back from seven points down to win 92-71 in the first game on Thursday.

Playing at home in Sofia, Bulgaria were in control during the first half of the encounter, but unable to shake off their gutsy guests, had to conform with a slim 44-41 lead at the half-time buzzer.

Switzerland returned to the court after the interval determined to take advantage of their hosts' nerves and quickly claimed the lead, extending it to seven points, 56-49, midway through the third quarter.

Surprisingly, this development instilled a sudden sense of urgency in the hosts and their response was swift and powerful.

Chavdar Kostov immediately drilled a three-pointer, his first basket in the game, to spur a 19-5 Bulgaria run that saw them lead 68-61 at the end of the third period.

The hosts had seized the momentum in the clash but still wanted to make the most of it and take a sizeable cushion for the second leg.

They kept their foot firmly on the gas and started the final frame on a 15-2 run that gave them their first 20-point lead, 83-63, with 5:39 left on the clock.

Bulgaria were exhausted and Switzerland too shocked to think of reducing the gap in the final five minutes, leaving both sides wasting possessions and effectively keeping the point differential effectively unchanged until the final buzzer.

The hosts, who dished out 26 assists, had five players scoring in double digits with Aleksandar Georgiev collecting 13 points and Nikolay Varbanov, Veselin Veselinov and Kaloyan Ivanov contributing 12 points each.

Switzerland's Dusan Mladjan and Clint Capela finished with game-highs of 18 points apiece in defeat, the latter also adding five rebounds.

The return leg of the semi-final tie takes place in Switzerland on Sunday 25 August.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Bulgaria vs. Switzerland

Konstantin Papazov, head coach of Bulgaria:

"It was not an easy win. I am not sure that at the third half there was anybody  in the gym who believed that we will win by 21 points. We have to be happy. Again we showed a couple of times that we have a heart. Basketball is such a game that one minute is enough to take you to a 10 points difference. Or take you to [the other end] in a bad psychological state. Switzerland has a great shooter [Mladja] and it took a lot of work to control him. I am very happy with this team. Our joker was Aleksander Georgiev. He grabbed his chance and did it the best way."

Aleksander Georgiev, Bulgaria:

"We did not play well in the first half. [At half time] we made some corrections in our play and at the fourth quarter we started to play better. We were very strong in defense; we started to play better and freely in offense. So we understood that the team of Switzerland is not so strong.  They were lucky to score four consequent three-pointers, but we did our best in the last minutes, so now we have an advantage of 21 points. We hope that we will qualify."

Petar Aleksic, head coach of Switzerland:

"Congratulations to Bulgaria for the big win. We played very well for 25 minutes. After that we lost control of the game. The Bulgarians played very tough after that ponit. We lost our focus and freshness. We stopped playing good defense. Offensively we couldn't do a lot. Bulgaria scored some really tough shots. We were surprise with a couple of their forwards - Veselinov and Georgiev.  They made some very difficult treys. We played much better than the result shows. The reality is that we shouldn't have lost by more than 10 points. This is not the realistic score for this game. We are a young team, without a lot of experience. We did some mistakes, and that cost us a 7-0 run. After that we couldn't come back. We were not thinking for the second game, we tried to win this one. I am proud of my team, they are doing a great job. It was our seventh game in a row, a lot of travelling, so we were physically not so good tonight."

Marko Mladjan, Switzerland:

"Bulgaria played a very good game. We started not so good, but we managed to come back and made some tough shots. But then we broke down and Bulgarian made some important shot. We let them have some open shots. But there are more 40 minutes left, so we will do our best to win at home."

 

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

52.5%

32/61
FG
M/A

42.0%

29/69

54.8%

17/31
FG2P
M/A

46.8%

22/47

50.0%

15/30
FG3P
M/A

31.8%

7/22

72.2%

13/18
FT
M/A

50.0%

6/12

36

9/27
RT
RO/RD

33

13/20

26

AS

14

12

TO

13

7

ST

9

5

BS

3

21

PF

21

92

Pts

71

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