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The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team experienced the quintessential essence of life on its third day in Italy. The Irish left the hectic pace of the city of Rome and headed to the region of Umbria where they were introduced to a much simpler lifestyle consisting of narrow streets, cobblestone walkways, quaint shops, and of course, wonderful Italian hospitality and food.
Friday also was a day when Notre Dame mixed pleasure with business as the Irish played the first of their four games. The traveling party departed Rome at approximately 10 a.m. and headed two-and-a-half hours north to the city of Perugia. Located approximately 100 miles from Rome, Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria. Like many Italian cities in this region, it sits on hilltop. Perugia is famous for its artists and is widely known for its chocolate. Ever see Perugian chocolate in the United States? The factory where the candy is made is located here. But the most famous chocolate brand in Italy is bacci (kisses). Bacci, according to our tour guide, is widely exported throughout the world. Michiana residents can buy it at Macri’s.
Upon arrival in Perugia, the tour bus parked on the outskirts of town and the traveling party headed to the center of the city in an Italian public bus. The pre-game meal was the first order of business, and, in a private room, the Irish feasted on two courses of pasta, Italian meats, chicken, spinach and fruit. As we walked into the restaurant, one of the cooks came out to assure our tour that there would be plenty of food, and, of course, he was right.
After the meal, everyone had a chance to walk for an hour before heading down the hill and off to Foligno, a province of Perugia. The contest was played against the Umbria Basketball Academy at the Palasport di Filigno. With a couple hundred fans in attendance, the Irish cruised to a 102-48 victory over a team comprised of men primarily from Perugia and ranging from the ages of 22-24.
Following the game, the Irish were treated to a postgame meal of lasagna and pizza by several local volunteers from Perugia and then boarded their bus for another two-and-half-hour ride (arriving at approximately 11 p.m.) to the town of Pesaro, located on the Adriatic Sea. It will be home to the Irish for the next two nights.
On Saturday evening the Irish take on perhaps their toughest competition of the tour, the Adriatic Sea Tritons. An Italian national sports network will televise the game, and since many Italian vacationers are here at this small beach town, an enthusiastic crowd is expected at the contest.
Notre Dame 102, Umbria Basketball Academy 48
August 8, 2014 • Palasport di Foligno (Foligno, Italy)
Umbria Basketball Academy
Sophomore Steve Vasturia led four Notre Dame players in double figures as he netted a game-high 17 points in the win over Umbria Basketball Academy. Seniors Pat Connaughton and Jerian Grant each finished with 16, while sophomore V.J. Beachem rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points.
The Irish were led in rebounding by Connaughton’s nine, followed by sophomore Zach Auguste’s and freshman Bonzie Colson’s seven boards. Sophomore Austin Torres, Vasturia and freshman Matt Farrell rounded out the rebounding with five boards each.
Sophomore Demetrius Jackson, who scored six points, led the Irish with six assists, followed by Farrell and Grant with four assists each. Grant and Colson led the Irish with three steals each.
The game was played under FIBA rules--four 10-minute quarters and a 24-second shot clock.
Notre Dame’s starting lineup in all four of quarters was Jackson, Grant, Connaughton, Vasturia and Auguste.
Notre Dame shot 54.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three-point range.
Jacopo Marsili’s led Umbria Basketball Academy with seven points.
Notre Dame led 33-16 after one period, 58-30 after two and 80-39 after three periods.
Head Coach Mike Brey
“First of all, it was great getting out there and competing together again as a team. I loved both our offensive and defensive unselfishness tonight and the way we were moving without the ball. During our summer practices and the 10 that we had leading up to this tour, we stressed unselfishness on defense and helping each other out. I think that we did a great job of that tonight. We had a lot of people out there talking. We played together defensively and that in turn resulted in a lot of deflections and some easy points in transition.
“I was proud of our young guys and how they played. Each of them gave us good minutes. I was very encouraged by the guys who came off the bench and how they responded in game situations.”
Sophomore Steve Vasturia
“I think that we brought a lot of energy out there tonight and we were very unselfish. It’s the first time we have played together as a unit and I think that we played pretty well. All of our freshmen contributed tonight and it was great to see everyone play a part in the win.”
Senior Jerian Grant
“It felt really good being out there and competing with my teammates. It had been a long time. I thought we did a lot of good things and most importantly, were competitive at both ends of the floor. I liked how we competed from the beginning until the end of the game. I thought defensively we communicated well on the court and our young guys showed a lot of poise.”
-- by Bernie Cafarelli, assistant athletics director