basketball Edit

Huskers complete sweep through Italy with 84-62 win

The Nebraska basketball team completed a clean sweep of its four-game tour of Italy on Monday, rolling past Italian Select 84-62 in Como to finish the trip a perfect 4-0.

Freshman walk-on Charlie Easley stole the show in the final contest, scoring a team-high 15 points off the bench to help the Huskers once again turn a close game into a lopsided victory.

Junior Dachon Burke finished with 12 points, while juniors Thorir Thorbjarnarson and Shamiel Stevenson both added 11 and freshman Kevin Cross chipped in 10.

Senior grad transfer Matej Kavas was the lone Husker to start all four games in Italy.
Senior grad transfer Matej Kavas was the lone Husker to start all four games in Italy. (Huskers.com)

"I think we saw good, great, bad and ugly tonight just in this one," NU head coach Fred Hoiberg said in an interview with the Husker Sports Network. "In our guys' defense a little bit, it was three days off without getting in the gym...

"But it was a good trip for us in that we got to spend a lot of time together. We've got a lot of work to do, there's no doubt about that. Like I told the guys in the locker room, I'm going to play the guys that are going to do it the right way, and we had stretches on this trip that we did that. We were in the right spots defensively, we had active hands, we forced turnovers, we got in transition.

"But there were too many possessions of coming down without a pass and taking bad shots and trying to do it individually. When we do it as a group, when we trust each other and make the right plays, we have a chance to be a solid team. But we've got to buy into it."

Opening the contest with a starting lineup of senior Matej Kavas, junior Jervay Green, Burke, Cross, and Stevenson – its fourth starting five in as many games – Nebraska had its hands full early.

After falling behind 7-4 midway through the first quarter, Thorbjarnarson came off the bench and scored seven of NU’s next 10 points to claim its first lead. A couple of late 3-pointers by Easley gave the Huskers a 22-18 advantage after the first frame.

Nebraska kept things under control on the defensive end, and eventually the offense picked up to send it into halftime with a 44-32 lead. Thorbjarnarson led the way with nine points in the first half, while Easley had eight and Burke added seven.

"We've been playing well all trip, and it was just good to go out like this and finish 4-0," Easley said. "It's a good start going into the start of practices in the fall."

That momentum carried on into the third quarter, as the Huskers took their biggest lead yet on a layup by Burke that capped a 9-0 run and made it 53-32. That would eventually balloon to a comfortable 66-42 edge after NU out-scored Italian Select 22-10 in the third.

It was all cruise control from there, as Nebraska would lead by as much as 30 before settling with a 22-point win.

"Just learning how to play through things," freshman guard Samari Curtis said of what he learned from the trip. "That was my biggest thing through practice was playing through adversity. I found that I can play through it now, so I'm good."

The Huskers will return to Lincoln on Tuesday, and preseason practices for the 2019-20 campaign will start up in late September. The fall semester begins on Aug. 26.

"I told the guys to enjoy their time with their families," Hoiberg said. "It's really going to be the last time they'll be able to spend extended time at home (before the season). At the same time, they've got to get in the gym, because we're going to get to work as soon as they get back on campus."

Scoring: Charlie Easley 15; Dachon Burke 12; Shamiel Stevenson 11; Thorir Thorbjarnarson 11; Kevin Cross 10; Haanif Cheatham 8; Samari Curtis 7; Dalano Banton 6; Jervay Green 4.