Road to EuroBasket 2015 begins: round-up of the 1st qualification round, semi-final, 1st leg

The qualifying round for Eurobasket in 2015 has reached the semi-final stages, as either Bulgaria, Switzerland, Belarus or Estonia will punch the first plane ticket to the Ukraine in two years time.

Bulgaria 92-71 Switzerland

Bulgaria will take 21-point lead with them to Fribourg on Sunday after a comfortable 92-71 win over Switzerland.

A dominant 24-10 fourth quarter was the difference between the two teams as the visiting Swiss were worn down in the first minutes of the final period.

Aleksandar Georgiev was one of five players to score in double-figures, as he led with 13 in a balanced attack.

“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,” Georgiev explained.

“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.”

Dusan Mladjan and Clint Capela finished with a game-high 18 points for Switzerland.

Belarus 76-70 Estonia

Belarus edged Estonia 76-70 in the first leg of their semi-final in Mogilev, leaving the tie firmly in the balance heading to Tallinn.

Both teams nearly played out a stalemate until Allaksandr Kudrautsau hit the game’s final four points to seal the win for the Belarussians leaving them with the advantage.

He led Belarus with 21 points.

“Congratulations to our opponents for that entertaining game,” a gracious Kudrautsau said afterwards. “We won by six, but it will be very hard in Estonia.”

“Two equal rivals faced each other today,” said Belarus coach Rusian Baydakov. “There was a little bit of luck for us at the clutch moment and we have a small advantage. But our team will play for the victory in the second game.”

Reinar Hallik scored 21 points for Estonia.