Ukraine End Decade-Long Wait

03.09.2011

EUROBASKET 2011

Turning Point: Late in the third quarter, Bulgaria cut the margin back to 10 and had the chance to get within eight, but Ukraine answered with eight points in a row - five by Oleksandr Kolchenko and a three-pointer by Oleksiy Pechrov to go up by 16, their biggest lead for that period and decide the game.

 

Game Heroes: Kolchenko had a perfect game with 18 points and not a single miss from the field until the last two minutes, but right next to him was big guy Viacheslav Kravtsov who scored his first field goal in the closing two minutes yet collected 10 rebounds and blocked four shots in a great defensive display today.

Stats Don't Lie: Ukraine enjoyed a great day by the guards and it showed on the three point shots accuracy. They connected eight shots from the arc in no less than 44% which made the difference at the end of the day.



Ukraine celebrated a key win in Group D at Klaipeda after beating Bulgaria 67-56 and breaking a 10-year drought.

This was the first win for Ukraine at EuroBasket 2011 and the two teams are now tied with a 1-2 record with two games left to play.

Three guards provided the scoring power that led to Ukraine's win, as Oleksandr Kolchenko had 18 points, Steve Burtt added 17 and Dmytro Zabirchenko added a surprising 12.

Kolchenko had the hot hand and did not miss his first shot until late in the game. He finished six of seven from the field.

Other great contribution came from Viacheslav Kravtsov who was a force on defense with 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Bulgaria had only two players in double-digits and barely, as Chavdar Kostov and Filip Videnov had 10 each, the latter missing all his eight shots in the closing quarter.

"It's the first win for EuroBasket in 10 years for Ukraine and we're all very excited to be part of it," shared Kyrylo Fesenko.

"I didn't play much today but the most important thing is that our team won and from there we can try to keep the momentum going, hopefully with two more wins."

Ukraine were on top of the game right from the start but allowed Bulgaria to stay close behind only in the first quarter which finished with a 16-14 advantage for the eventual winners.

Kravtsov, who collected 10 rebounds in the first half alone and Zabirchenko, who scored all 12 of his points in the first two quarters, were the main reason Ukraine took a 34-25 lead at the interval.

A great shooting day by Ukraine was the main difference maker in the third quarter.

Bulgaria tried to fight back in the closing period but on a bad day for EJ Rowland - limited to only nine points on 25% shooting from the floor - and a series of missed shots by Videnov, it was an impossible task.

On Sunday, Ukraine will try to keep the good momentum going against Georgia in a key game for both teams, while Bulgaria have a tough fight against Russia.


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