Turning Point: Italy cut an 18-point deficit to just four at the end of the third quarter, but Marko Keselj made two free-throws after an unsportsmanlike foul by Danilo Gallinari. That triggered an 11-0 Serbia run and gave them a 68-53 advantage.
Game Hero: Milan Macvan - The power forward came off the bench and scored 10 second quarter points as Serbia hit back from an early deficit, and then scored four more in an 11-0 run at the beginning of the fourth quarter that helped propel the Blues to victory.
Stats Don't Lie: Serbia were nine of 26 from long range to just two of 17 for Italy.
Italy had a dream start at the EuroBasket but even that wasn't enough to beat Serbia in Siauliai.
Serbia, getting 14 points and eight rebounds from reserve power forward Milan Macvan and 15 points apiece from Milenko Tepic and Milos Teodosic, won 80-68 to land the first blow in Group B.
The Italians, making their first appearance in the Final Round since 2007 in Spain, began well against the silver-medal winners of 2009.
Danilo Gallinari (15pts) poured in 10 first-quarter points as the Azzurri opened up a 18-10 lead.
Serbia coach Dusan Ivkovic went to his bench and was richly rewarded, with Macvan enjoying maybe his finest moment in the national team shirt.
Down 22-14 early in the second quarter, Macvan scored to spark a 9-0 run.
Macvan scored 10 points in the quarter and Serbia took a 35-29 lead to half-time.
Serbia took off at the start of the third quarter.
Three-pointers by Tepic and Teodosic sandwiched a basket by Dusko Savanovic and the Blues went on a 14-1 run.
Their lead grew to 52-34 when Teodosic hit another shot from the arc - one of his three in the game.
The Italians, riding the back of Andrea Bargnani (22pts), fought back.
Held to just two points on one of six shooting in the first half, the Toronto Raptors center erupted for 11 as Italy reduced the arrears to 57-53 at the end of the third quarter.
Marko Keselj made two free-throws after an unsportsmanlike foul by Gallinari at the start of the fourth, and that triggered an 11-0 Serbia run that gave them control of the contest the rest of the way.
Serbia were nine of 26 from long range to just two of 17 for Italy.
The Blues also made all 13 of their free-throws, with Italiy sinking 14 of 15.