Italy got a clear sign of how long their road back to the European elite is likely to be as they lost their opening EuroBasket qualifier 79-71 at home to Israel.
Simone Pianigiani's squad trailed almost the entire way against an Israel side out to extend the country's record of not having missed a EuroBasket since 1991.
Italy raced into an 11-3 lead, their run capped by Marco Belinelli's dunk, but Israel soon got back on level terms before taking control.
The visitors took their first lead since the opening minute when Yuval Naimy nailed a jump-shot one second from the end of the first quarter, and they never trailed again.
Israel opened the second period on a 16-2 to build a commanding 36-21 lead and they only continued to pull away.
Yogev Ohayon made a pair of free-throws that made it 44-28 late in the first quarter.
Italy came out with renewed purpose in the second half, and cut the lead back to single figures when Andrea Bargnani's lay-up made it 45-37.
But they could not get close enough to threaten Israel's lead as the visitors continuously found answers.
The closest they got was five points, 60-55, when Luigi Da Tome made a pair of free throws late in the third quarter.
But Israel always had enough in reserve to ensure they opened with a win.
Yotam Halperin led Israel with 16 points, while Naimy and David Bluthenthal had 10 each.
Bargnani and Belinelli finished with 20 points each for Italy.