Italy used a hot start to the second half to ease past Israel 82-52 in Lille on Sunday and book their place in the EuroBasket 2015 quarter-finals.
Turning Point: Italy led 40-30 at half-time, but having lost Andrea Bargnani to injury late in the second period, needed a solid start to the third quarter to maintain the upper hand. They got more than that, however, increasing the defensive pressure to force Israel into four early turnovers and create a 19-4 run to take control and crush Israel's resolve.
Stats Don't Lie: Unsurprisingly, given the one-sided nature of the scoreline, Italy were dominant across the board by the final buzzer. But their 11-of-29 shooting from long range, coupled with a 46-36 triumph in the rebounding battle, 13 of those coming on the offensive end, formed a dangerous combination.
Game Hero: Marco Belinelli got Italy going by hitting three of his first four three-pointers, but Alessandro Gentile was the key to this success. As well as doing a fine job of limiting Omri Casspi's offensive impact, the tenacious forward scored nine points during the decisive 19-4 stretch before finishing with 27 to go with five rebounds while drawing eight fouls.
The Bottom Line: On this form, not many teams will relish facing Italy. They may rely heavily on individual talent and outside scoring, but that has been more than enough to steer them into the last eight - and who knows how much further it will take them? The only concern for coach Simone Pianigiani will be the extent of Bargnani's injury as he did not return to the action, but limped back to the bench to watch the second half.