Florence, Italy – Freshman Samari Curtis led three Huskers in double figures, as Nebraska held on for a 73-70 win over Silute Basketball Club Thursday evening.
Curtis finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals, as Nebraska built a 24-point halftime lead and hung on down the stretch after playing its second game in a 22-hour span.
Senior Haanif Cheatham finished with 12 points while Dachon Burke added 11 markers for the Huskers, who improved to 3-0 on the trip.
Silute BC had pulled to within 67-61 before Thorir Thorbjarnarson’s steal led to a Burke layup to push the lead back to eight points. Thorbjarnarson finished with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and two of the Huskers’ 10 steals.
BC Silute made one last run, cutting an eight-point Husker lead to 71-67 with 47 seconds left, but Burke’s tip-in basket with 11 seconds remaining preserved the win for the Big Red.
The Huskers came out firing early, jumping to a 12-4 lead as NU scored its first 12 points from long distance. NU hit nine 3-pointers on the day, but just two in the final 20 minutes. The Huskers led 19-14 midway through the first quarter, but Silute fought back and tied the score at 22 at the end of the first quarter.
BC Silute took its only lead at 25-24 before Jervay Green helped key what would be the game’s decisive stretch. Nebraska ran off 14 unanswered points, as Green scored six of his eight first-half points to help stake the Huskers to a 38-25 lead. NU then closed the half on another 15-3 surge, including the final eight points before intermission. Curtis capped the half with a long 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 24 going into the break.
The Huskers quickly found themselves in a tussle, as BC SIlute opened the half with the first eight points before a Cheatham basket ended the NU dryspell. The teams traded baskets the remainder of the quarter, as NU had a 64-52 cushion after three periods.
BC Silute trimmed the Husker lead to 64-59 before Cheatham answered with a 3-pointer from the corner to stretch the lead to eight with just over seven minutes remaining, setting the stage for the remainder of the game the Huskers faced adversity for the first time on the trip before holding on for the win.
Several members of the Husker travel party started the day with a visit to the Accademia Gallery Museum, which was located a short walk from the Huskers’ team hotel in downtown Florence. The museum features several famous sculptures by Michelangelo, including the masterpiece David. The 14-foot-tall marble masterpiece depicts the Biblical hero David in his battle against Goliath, and took Michelangelo more than two years to construct when it was finished in 1504.
“It was beautiful,” Thorbjarnarson said about the Huskers’ trip to the Accademia. “The sculpture of Davis was one of the main things I wanted to see here in Florence. At first, I thought it was going to be smaller, but when you realize how long it took him to build it, it was truly spectacular to see.”
Following the Accademica, the group took a walking tour through Florence and learned more about the city that was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Some of the tour highlights included the Florence Cathedral, which took over a century to build and towers over the city and Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge with a thriving market featuring jewelry and leather shops.
The Huskers will finish up in Florence tomorrow before traveling to Como for the final portion of the trip. The Huskers will play their final game of the week on Monday night against Italian Select. Tipoff is scheduled for Noon (central).