NC State basketball coach Kevin Keatts said before his team left for its exhibition tour of Italy that he was more interested in the Wolfpack’s performance and improvement than individual game results.
So even though State was beaten 103-98 in double overtime Monday in Pisa, Keatts was anything but disappointed.
“We played a very tough game versus a collection of talented Italian pros tonight,” the first-year Wolfpack coach said after the game against Da Ground, a team made up of players from various Italian professional leagues who live in the Pisa area. “This game will help more this upcoming season than winning by 36 points in our first game will.”
State scored a 100-64 victory against the lesser talented Varese All-Stars in Milan in its Italian opener on Saturday.
The Wolfpack, who visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa earlier in the day, trailed by seven at halftime Monday in a game played before a large crowd at a steamy Piazzale dello Sport. It battled back to tie the game at 63 by the end of the third quarter and extended the game with defensive stops on the both the final possession of regulation and the first overtime.
Although no official stats were provided for Monday’s game, a difficult-to-read boxscore posted Da Ground’s Facebook page indicated that senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu led State with 21 points while NC A&T transfer Sam Hunt scored 18, all on 3-pointers.
The Wolfpack will play one more exhibition game before returning home to Raleigh on Saturday.