Danilo Andjusic scored the game-winning lay-up with one second left to help Serbia prevail over Israel in their Group B opener at Rethymno.
Dejan Musli led the way for Serbia with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds and Lazar Radosavljevic added 8 points and an impressive 14 rebounds as Dragan Vascanin’s men overcame a late and furious rally by Israel to secure a winning start to the tournament.
The two teams traded baskets at the start of the third quarter and Israel took the lead 39-38 on David Shamriz’s three-pointer.
Serbia though responded with an 11-0 run – capped off by Radosavljevic’s lay up – and looked headed for an easy win, leading by double digits, 49-39, with less than five minutes left in the contest.
But Yossef Rauch’s men fought back behind Nisim Cohen and Guy Dotan, who tied the game at 51-51 with a free-throw with nine seconds left to play.
The game had been close for most of the first half with Serbia taking a 28-26 lead into the break.
Dotan and Shamriz both finished with nine points for Israel
In the groups other game Malela Mutuale-Balume and Remi Dibo shared the scoring load as France held off the Czech Republic 71-57.
The French led by double-digits for most of the game and were rarely threatened by Jan Ulrych’s men after taking a 38-23 lead at half-time.
But the Czech Republic never gave up hope and, led by Tomas Satoransky’s 16 points, they did manage to keep the deficit under 10 points into the fourth quarter.
Tahar Assed Liegeon’s men came out firing and led 20-11 at the end of the first quarter and Mutuale-Balume’s three-pointer to start the second period saw them gain a double-digit lead which they didn’t relinquish until late in the third quarter.
Frederic Bourdillon chipped in with 12 points for Les Bleus who also got six rebounds and four assists from Mutuale-Balume.