A near flawless performance by forward Vladimir Dragicevic was the foundation for Montenegro as they grabbed a 90-84 win in Latvia to assume control of Group A of EuroBasket Qualifying Round and in the process finally kill off the ambitions of the home team.
Dragicevic poured in 24 points off the back of a perfect 9 of 9 from open play and only one missed free-throw in seven to spoil his otherwise fantastic line while fellow big man Nikola Pekovic weighed in with a healthy 16 points and six rebounds.
Montenegro were dominant inside and their superior quickness and strength all over the court meant they spent a good proportion of this contest on the line although Latvia could have still sneaked it down the stretch.
The visitors controlled the game for long periods and always held the upper hand for most of the first three quarters. However, trailing 62-55, Latvia found fresh impetus either side of the third and fourth quarter break to pull level.
Two triples by Kaspars Berzins helped to tie the game up at 63-63 and while Montenegro then stepped on the gas in emphatic style and looked to have wrapped the game up at 84-69, with just 2:40 remaining, they almost inexplicably threw the game away in spectacular fashion.
Fifteen points adrift, anyone who decided to leave the action early missed an astonishing response by Latvia who, in a little over two minutes embarked on a 15-3 run culminating in a triple by Janis Strelnieks which made it a one shot game with 28 seconds still to play.
However Montenegro manoeuvred their way through a nervy finale to seal the win.
Rihards Kuksiks was once again on fire from outside as he bagged five of six from downtown on his way to 22 points.