The NC State basketball team got its exhibition tour of Italy off to a winning start Saturday with a 100-64 victory against the Varese All-Stars in Milan.
Playing for the first time under new coach Kevin Keatts, the Wolfpack used its depth, defensive pressure and a fast-paced style to wear its Italian opponent down and pull away for the victory. State recorded 21 steals and opened up a 52-32 lead by halftime while getting double figure scoring from six players.
Baylor transfer Allerik Freeman led the way for the Wolfpack with 17 points and was presented an award by the Varese team in honor of a teammate that died from brain cancer.
“I thought we played hard,” Keatts said after the game. “Though, we didn’t do everything correct, I thought our effort was great. Obviously, when you play your first game, you certainly are going to have some things you need to work on, but I thought our guys played extremely hard. We shared the basketball and I thought we got out in transition.”
Following the game, the Wolfpack left Milan for Venice, where it will spend Sunday sightseeing. The team will then move on to Florence, where it will play the second of its three games on Monday. State is also scheduled to spend time in Rome.
“We’re trying to get these guys to play as hard as they can for a short amount of time and then put their hand up in the air and let someone else come in and play hard,” Keatts said. “I was very happy with the first game. We’ll go back and watch a little tape and try to figure out some things we need to work on before we play again Monday.”