BARCELONA, Spain -- Senior-to-be Brandon Fields and sophomore-to-be Luke Babbitt each scored 20 points as the Wolf Pack opened up its five-game tour of Europe with a thrilling, 82-81 come-from-behind win over Regal FC Barcelona’s Under 20 team on Monday night.
After trailing for all three of the first three quarters, including a 45-35 deficit at halftime, and battling foul trouble with only seven active players, Nevada rallied for the victory on the strength of 12 second-half points from Fields, seven from Babbitt and six from junior-to-be Armon Johnson.
“It showed that we’ve got a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Fields said of the win. “There is no quit in this team. We only had seven players, but we came through with the win.”
“We showed a lot of heart and toughness,” Babbitt said. “We just fought back and didn’t try to get it all back at once. It was mostly just getting to know each other in the different style we are playing.”
Babbitt put the Wolf Pack ahead for the first time in the game, 73-72, with a three-pointer with 3:22 to play, while senior-to-be Joey Shaw put the icing on the cake with another trey with just under two minutes to play after Barcelona briefly regained the lead. But the biggest play of the night came from former walk-on and junior-to-be Adam Carp who blocked a shot with just under one minute to play to secure the victory.
“It was spectacular,” Babbitt said about his teammate’s block.
“I just saw him coming came to the help side,” Carp said. “I just was not going to let him get a shot.”
In addition to the 20 points each from Babbitt and Fields, senior-to-be Joey Shaw added 14 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and Johnson had 13. Babbitt and fellow sophomore-to-be Dario Hunt led the team with nine rebounds each, while Shaw added eight.
The Wolf Pack also had to get used to a different set of playing rules in the game. In the international game, teams play four 10-minute quarters, instead of two 20-minute halves. The shot clock is also only 24 seconds, and coaches must check in with the scorer’s table to call a timeout instead of asking the referees among the major differences.
“There were some different rules,” Carp said. “It’s a faster-paced game. Some of the calls are different. Those are small things that you really wouldn’t think of, but we got used to it.”
The Wolf Pack also faced a little bit of language barrier in communicating with the referees and their opponents, although in the language of basketball, most things were figured out prettily quickly.
“It was mostly just all of the different rules,” Babbitt said. “It was a little tough communicating with the refs. They didn’t understand if we had a question.”
Nevada’s game with FC Barcelona ended a whirlwind day and a half in Barcelona. The team arrived at 4 p.m. on Sunday after a 20-hour journey from Reno and immediately set out on a walk around Barcelona followed by a Spanish-style buffet dinner. On Monday, the Wolf Pack toured the Guell Park, a 30-acre public garden designed by famed Barcelona architect Antonio Gaudi, before heading to Gaudi’s unfinished, elaborate church, the Sagrada Familia. The team ended its sightseeing tour with a walk through the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics, checking out the Palau Sant Jorgi, the arena where the original Dream Team won its gold medal, and the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the track and field events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
On Tuesday, Nevada will take a 391-mile bus ride to its next stop: Nice, France and the French Riviera.