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29.08.2013, 19:30h
29.08.2013, 19:30h
58-55
16 - 1515 - 2019 - 68 - 14
16 - 1515 - 2019 - 68 - 14
Venue: Sofia (BUL) |
Spectators: 1500 |
Referees: Zoran Sutulovic (MNE), Marcin Kowalski (POL), Keith Williams (ENG)

GAME REPORT


Bulgaria Squeeze Out Win, Estonia Hope

10. Sten Sokk (Estonia)
Sten Sokk and Estonia have every reason to feel pleased with result in Bulgaria despite the loss

Bulgaria will carry a slim three-point lead over Estonia into the second leg of the EuroBasket 2015 1st Qualification Round final tie, after overturning a nine-point deficit and holding on for a 58-55 win at home on Thursday.

The low-scoring first game was highligted by nervous performances on both sides, as neither team converted more than 38 percent of their shots from the floor, shooting particularly poorly from beyond the three-point arc.

Bulgaria ultimately edged out their guests thanks to the fact they managed at least to maintain some composure at the foul line and sunk 18 of their 24 free throws, while they also controlled the boards, out-rebounding Estonia 45 to 31.

The guests however were the better side during the first half thanks to their accuracy when shooting from around the rim (Estonia finished 16-for-34 from two-point range).

They started pulling ahead in the second quarter and grabbed a 35-26 lead on Rain Veideman's 11th point on the night, with 1:14 remaining to the half-time buzzer.

From that point onwards though Bulgaria tightened the screws on defence, while searching more effectively for the open man on the offensive end.

A Branko Mirkovich triple with 4:18 left to play in the third quarter capped an amazing 18-0 run for the hosts that turned the tables around completely, giving them a 44-35 lead.

Estonia threw everything at the hosts and short-circuited them offensively the rest of the way to gradually chip away on the difference, but Bulgaria still had enough left in the tank to at least keep up their defensive intensity and held on for the win.

Kaloyan Ivanov paced the winners with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds and his twin brother Deyan chipped in with 12 points and five assists.

Veideman did not find the way to the basket in the second half and finished with 11 points, but he was still the only player to score in double digits for Estonia.

COACH QUOTES


Quotes Bulgaria vs. Estonia

Tiit Sokk, head coach of Estonia:

"It was an important game for the spot at EuroBasket 2015. That's why both teams played hard and tough. We started quite well. Bulgaria made a great effort [to come back] in the third quarter. They pressed us a lot, so we started to miss shots. In the last quarter we managed to come back. It will be really hard [at home] because Bulgaria is a very good team with good players. But I hope - we have a big chance to succeed."

Rain Veideman, Estonia:

"It was a tough game. It is a good result as we are going back to Tallinn. With these three points difference that we lost we have a good chance to qualify for EuroBasket 2015. We played really good in the first half. The third quarter was a disaster for us. In the final quarter we had some [nervous] situations, but it is good for us, although we lost.

Konstantin Papazov, head coach of Bulgaria:

"It was really hard for us in the first half. It was obvious that both teams were nervous - we were under pressure, because this is a final for the spot at EuroBasket 2015. This game doesn't show the real abilities of the two teams. Both teams played very good in defense. Today we were really nervous and that is why our shooting percentage was so bad. It is a question of psychology. I wish we'd won with bigger difference. We have the quality and will try to win in Tallinn. We played good defense today and if we go on this way, it will be easier for us to score. The pressure stays with the hosts as it was with us today."

Branko Mirkovich, Bulgaria:

"I think, we had the chances for bigger difference, especially when we led with 10 points but we let them come back. Three points is not a big advance, so we are going to Estonia to win."

Top performers

Accumulated statistics

30.9%

17/55
FG
M/A

37.9%

22/58

33.3%

11/33
FG2P
M/A

47.1%

16/34

27.3%

6/22
FG3P
M/A

25.0%

6/24

75.0%

18/24
FT
M/A

50.0%

5/10

45

12/33
RT
RO/RD

31

3/28

10

AS

11

15

TO

13

6

ST

5

0

BS

2

17

PF

23

58

Pts

55

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