Italy outscored a gutsy Iceland 12-2 in the final three minutes of their Sunday Group B clash in Berlin to pick up an agonising 71-64 victory, their first success at EuroBasket 2015.
Turning Point: With Iceland leading 62-59 and three minutes left on the clock, Marco Belinelli was fouled as he was rising for a three-pointer, made all three free-throws and tied the scores at 62. Italy got three stops on defence, Pietro Aradori scored five quick-fire points and Alessandro Gentile capped off a 10-0 run to seal the deal.
Stats Don't Lie: Iceland shot 55% from three-point range throughout the first half but they only made 1-of-8 triples in the third quarter and 1-of-6 in the final frame. While the Nordic team's shooting accuracy from down-town dropped, Italy continued to dominate the glass and out-rebounded their opponents 45-to-32. Italy scored 16 valuable second-chance points off their 13 offensive boards.
Game Hero: Alessandro Gentile was everywhere on the floor for Italy and while he was not flawless on the offensive end, he provided the spurts of energy, hassle and defensive intensity that Italy needed to overcome a tough-as-nails Iceland. The Italian all-round forward finished with a game-high 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal.
Bottom Line: Italy adjusted to Iceland's style of play rather than dictating the shape of the game, but the way they defined at the end an encounter of runs that went through 12 lead changes was so convincing that it can serve as an injection of morale. Iceland showed once again that what they lack in size they make up for with heart and clever spacing and will not make it easy for anyone in their remaining games in Berlin.