FLORENCE, Italy — Nebraska finished its four-game tour in Italy a perfect 4-0 with an 84-62 win over Italian Select on Monday.
NU was led by freshman walk-on Charlie Easley, who scored 15 points in NU’s overseas finale. He was helped by Dachon Burke, who finished with 12 points. Shamiel Stevenson added 11, as did Thorir Thorbjarnarson.
The Huskers will head back to the United States on Tuesday after 10 days in Italy.
“We’ve been playing well all trip, and it’s just good to go out like this and finish 4-0,” Easley said. “It’s a good start going into practices in the fall.”
The game was not streamed, but the Nebraska athletic department provided scoring totals. During the trip, Burke led Nebraska with 13.5 points per game. Fred Hoiberg’s team had a different leading scorer in each contest.
Graduate transfer Haanif Cheatham was just behind Burke with 11.7 points per game, followed by 8.2 points from both junior college transfer Jervay Green and freshman Samari Curtis.
Thorbjarnarson got Nebraska started early Monday with seven quick points for a 10-7 lead. A three-point play by Burke put NU up 25-24. A late burst in the final minutes of the second quarter — thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Easley — put NU ahead 44-32 at the half.
“I thought Samari Curtis was as good as anybody,” Hoiberg said. “I think he played the right way, he got in the paint, he spread it out, he found Charlie for some open 3s and that’s what got us going in the second quarter.”
Nebraska opened the final 20 minutes on a 9-0 run, and thus began the blowout.
Despite the perfect record, Hoiberg still saw some flaws on the court the past 10 days — like nearly giving up a 24-point lead in the third game and too many possessions with zero passes and quick shots.
“We got a lot of work to do, there’s no doubt about that,” Hoiberg said. “And like I told the guys in the locker room, I’m going to play the guys who go out there and do it the right way. And we had stretches on this trip when we did that.”
The most encouraging part of the trip, by far, Hoiberg said, came off the court. The team saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa and posed for photos inside the Roman Colosseum. They made pasta together and gave toasts from rooftop restaurants overlooking Lake Como. Hoiberg switched up roommates for the players in every city they stayed in, and saw the difference 10 days can make.
“You can see them grow, you can see the chemistry getting better along this trip,” Hoiberg said. “It was a very quiet group when we first got them all together, and it’s fun to see them come out of their shell and see their personalities.”
Nebraska will have a week off before classes start Aug. 26. Then workouts pick back up again.
“Just to finish off 4-0 with my teammates,” Curtis said, “it feels the best.”