Bulgaria lose to Serbia but qualify for EuroBasket
Despite the 77-78 loss at the hands of the Serbs, Pini Gershon's team finished second ahead of Italy, who were also 4-4 but had a worse overall goal differential in the group than the Bulgarians. The latter advanced to Poland next year as one of Division A's three best second-place teams.
Nenad Krstic had 17 points and 9 rebounds for Serbia, while Ibrahim Jaaber scored 27 for Bulgaria. Serbia, who clinched their passage to Poland with a victory in midweek at home over Finland, won for the seventh time in eight qualifying games. They stormed into a 26-16 lead by the end of the opening quarter and extended that to 49-30 by half-time.
Dusan Ivkovic's Blues went even further ahead in the fourth quarter at 80-56 with just under six minutes remaining.
But Bulgaria eased fears they could be about to blow their huge goal differential advantage to Italy by outscoring the Serbians 25-14 in the frame.
They were also lucky to have France lose 78-80 in a Group C game to Turkey, who had already secured their slot for EuroBasket 2009. Thus second placed Tony Parker now had 3-3 - a 50% win/loss record, the same as Bulgaria from Group A and Israel from Group D. But thanks to Bulgaria's strong performance in those last five minutes vs Serbia and Israel's impressive 98-61 victory over the Czech Republic, those two teams gained a better goal differential than France and both qualified directly for next year's EuroBasket in Poland.
FULL STATS OF THE BULGARIA - SERBIA GAME
FINAL STANDINGS IN EUROBASKET QUALIFYING
SCORES AND SCHEDULE IN GROUP A OF EUROBASKET QUALIFYING
INDIVIDUAL STATS IN EUROBASKET QUALIFYING
TEAM STATS IN EUROBASKET QUALIFYING
BGbasket.com spoke with an american point guard Demarquis "Dee" Bost who played this summer for Bulgaria men′s national basketball team for qualifications for Eurobasket 2017more...