Italy held off Israel on a score of 66-57 to take their first win at the U18 European Championship Men 2009, in Hagondange, France.
The result means that Italy booked a place in the Qualifying Round while Israel will play to avoid relegation to Division B.
Afterwards, Andrea De Nicolao, who finished with 14 points and four rebounds, talked about his team's relief at reaching the next round.
"We lost the first two games by a combined two points so we really were angry coming into this game, but we used that anger and frustration in a positive way.
"All of us knew we could not take it personally and try to win the game on our own. We knew we had to play smart and make the extra pass. That approach worked well today."
After a sluggish and low-scoring first half which ended with Italy leading by three, 25-22, the two teams eventually found some degree of accuracy in the last two quarters to give their fans something to cheer about.
Israel tied the game at 25 on a Nimrod Tishman free-throw in the first minute of the third quarter but Italy jumped back in front.
The game was tied again at 43 all early in the final frame but De Nicolao broke the deadlock with a pair of free-throws before Marco Spanghero drained consecutive three-pointers to give Italy an eight-point cushion, 51-43, with 7:14 left to play.
Danny Franco's men got within five or six points on several occasions. However their several spurts were thwarted by some timely baskets by the Azzuri with Michele Vitali knocking a stepback three-pointer for a 54-45 lead with under five minutes to go and Italy held on until the final whistle.
Efficient offense definitely was not at a premium in the first half as Israel shot six for 28 from the field while Italy were only slightly better (nine for 31) but their cause wasn't helped by their 15 turnovers.