LIVORNO, Italy – Junior-to-be Armon Johnson scored a game-high 33 points and sophomore-to-be Luke Babbitt added 25 as the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team defeated Libertas Basket Livorno 120-60 Thursday night at the Palasport Macchia.
Johnson also added 11 assists and made a team-best three pointers, and Babbitt pulled down 16 rebounds and dished out five assists. Senior-to-be Brandon Fields had 23 points and five assists, while sophomore-to-be Dario Hunt added 18 points and nine rebounds.
For the second night in a row, all seven players scored, while tonight all seven players pulled down at least one rebound and five of the seven players had at least one assist.
“It’s fun to play out here against different competition. Everybody respects each other so much on the court,” Johnson said. “We are just trying to get on the same page mentally as a team. It’s great that we only have seven players right now because everyone is getting so much more experience.
“We’re sharing the ball and playing tough defense which has led to fastbreak points,” Babbitt said. “We’re playing off our defense, which is what good teams do. We need to keep it up.”
Johnson said that his teammates like scoring but have enjoyed helping their teammates score even more.
“That’s part of growing. We’re becoming more of a team and we want to see our teammates succeed,” he said. “It just feels great to make my teammates better. That’s a step for me and part of growing as a point guard.”
Nevada jumped out to a 27-6 lead seven minutes into the game and never looked back. The Wolf Pack led 57-27 at halftime and 84-50 after the third quarter.
The Wolf Pack took a five-hour bus ride from Nice, France to Pisa, Italy on Thursday and spent the afternoon touring the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The team climbed hundreds of steep and slippery marble stairs to the top of the sinking bell tower and enjoyed the panoramic views of the Field of Miracles as well as the entire region before driving another 45 minutes to Livorno for the game.
“I thought for a second I might fall off, but it was great seeing it,” Babbitt said. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to take this trip. We were all excited to come here, but I think we are having more fun than we thought. This is a great trip for us on and off the court.”
Nevada then traveled another hour to Florence and will spend Friday with a walking tour of Florence, including a visit to the Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo’s statue of David. The team will also play its third game in three nights on Friday, traveling 24 miles to Pistoia to take on AS Pistoia Basket.
According to Johnson, the chance to see another part of the world has been a little humbling.
“I never thought I’d have the chance to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the other things we’ve seen. It’s like a fairy tale, like a reality check,” Johnson said. “It just feels so good to be around everything and all of these people. It’s been a time to get to know yourself because you’re not around your friends.
“I’m so grateful for all the people who made this possible for us. It’s an extreme privilege to be here and feels so good to be doing this.”
Johnson 33-5-11, Babbitt 25-16-5, Fields 23-1-5, Hunt 18-9-1, Shaw 10-3-3, Giles 7-7-1, Carp 4-4-0