Montenegro pulled away down the stretch to put what might be the final nail in Italy's coffin and improved their own EuroBasket qualifying record to a perfect 3-0 with a 71-62 victory on Wednesday night.
Montenegro finished the game on a 14-5 run to turn a 57-57 tie 3:54 from time into a comfortable-looking victory.
Nikola Pekovic got the final push started with an old-fashioned three-point play, fouled by Marco Mordente as he made a jump-shot, then completing the free throw.
Goran Jeretin then nailed the three-pointer and Pekovic followed it up with another lay-up and foul for a three-point play that made it 66-57 with 2:03 to go.
The game was up for Italy as they could not find any way back.
Pekovic put an exclaimation point on it with a dunk 1:20 from time to build a 10-point lead, 68-58.
He finished with 28 points in a dominant performance, having made 11 of 15 (73.3%) of his shots from the field and six of seven (85.7%) from the charity stripe.
Jeretin also made it into double figures with 12 points.
Andrea Bargnani led Italy with 17 points while Marco Belinelli added 13 and Stefano Mancinelli had 10. Montenegro top Group A with a 3-0 record, while Italy drop to 1-3.
Quotes Montenegro vs. Italy
Montenegro coach Duško Vujoševıć: "We knew that the Italians will play on their real, quality level. They have many players which are important in the clubs which have a leading role in Europe and two NBA players. I am grateful to the fans which pushed us in some tough moments. We had to win that match and for this reason I would like to congratulate the player's who played well enough, but also there are congratulations for Italians whe possess great quality."
Italy coach Simone Pianigiani: "We played a very good game and obviously this was the hardest match so far. Physically we are less prepared for the game than the Montenegrins, but in the first half of the game we had a successful tactic to make it happen. In the other half of the game [Nikola] Peković took the lead role in the game. We had the opportunity to win the game with the three-pointers, but we didnt shoot [well], and to win such a game one must be much better in this specific segment of the game."