Tigers Fall to Strong Italian National Team, 104-62
BORMIO, Italy — Assistant coach Kermit Davis said before the game that the Italian National team could easily win the SEC this season. The 2000 Olympic bronze-medal favorites proved their reputation true as they out-sized and out-manned the nine-player LSU squad Thursday in Bormio, Italy, 104-62.
LSU will be back in action in the same arena Friday evening at 9 p.m. Italian time (2 p.m. CDT) against the Olympic team from Angola. Like the Italian team, the Angolans are in Bormio for a pre-Olympic tournament which begins this weekend.
“There were two factors which led the scoring to being as it was,” said LSU Coach John Brady after the game. “Italy is a very talented, well-coached team which has won the European Championship. These players are more disciplined and more mature than we are. Secondly, the lack of depth we have here may have affected our ability to sustain the quality of our play for any length of time.”
The Tigers trailed 19-11 with about eight minutes to go in the half before the Italians began forcing the Tigers into a multitude of turnovers. Torris Bright picked up three first half fouls and Italy built a 52-30 halftime advantage.
In all, LSU would turn the ball over 27 times in the contest against an Italian team which went 7 feet, 6-11, and 6-10 across the front line.
“The turnovers against a talented Olympic team was too much to overcome,” said Brady, who will enter his fourth season this fall as the LSU head coach.
Brian Beshara led LSU in scoring in the game with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Jermaine Williams added 13 points. Ronald Dupree was the other double-figure scorer for LSU with 10 points. The sophomore to be was also the team’s leading rebounder with nine. Torris Bright had eight points and three assists.
“It was very obvious we are trying new ideas offensively, but our purpose is to learn, get better and find out what our strengths and limitations are,” said Brady. “We will accomplish that where we are here and without question make great improvement.”
The Tigers are expected to play five games in Italy before returning to the United States on August 17.