|15 August 2012|
Bulgaria held off Sweden down the stretch to open their EuroBasket Qualification Round campaign with a 78-73 victory.
In a game that was close throughout, Sweden used a 6-1 run to get within three points 40 seconds from time, but could not get over the hump despite late missed free throws from Bulgaria.
|Chavdar Kostov led six Bulgaria players scoring in double figures|
It was a close game throughout, with Bulgaria's biggest lead, a 39-29 advantage given to them by back-to-back threes from Chavdar Kostov, lasting just a few seconds before Sweden replied with six straight to get back within range.
Bulgaria began to pull away again in the fourth quarter, going 73-65 clear on Filip Videnov's three-pointer with 2:59 to go.
But Sweden were not done. Kenny Grant hit a pair of free throws to start a 6-1 run that made it 74-71 when Thomas Massamba split his free throws with 40 ticks left.
Cedric Simmons then nailed a jump-shot for Bulgaria to give them a five-point edge and they should have put the game away from the line.
But Hristo Nikolov missed both his shots before Bozhidar Avramov likewise came up empty.
They got a huge break when Grant missed his three-pointer and Nikolov went back to the line, this time making his shots to make it 78-71 inside the final 10 seconds.
Kostov led Bulgaria with 13 points while Simmons had 12 and Nikolov, Videnov and Nikolay Varbanov 11 each, Nikolov adding 10 rebounds.
Jonas Jerebko had 26 for Sweden with Christian Maraker scoring 15.