Aug. 15, 2012
Because of yesterday's game, we took a day off from the blog.
Tuesday morning, the players received of a special tour of and enlightening presentation from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, as they were educated on the tasks of the FAO and some of the social justice issues they face.
Following the FAO presentation, the team headed to another special presentation from Mario Mesquita, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy to the Holy See. The U.S. Embassy works in partnership with the Pope on issues such as HIV/AIDS, world hunger and human rights.
After a few hours to relax and recharge for its first game of the trip against All-Star Italy, the team returned to the hotel to rest before a healthy pre-game meal of chicken, pasta, salad and vegetables.
Loyola's first basketball opponent would be All-Star Italy, a collection of professional players from around Italy. The Ramblers committed a handful of turnovers at the outset of the game, showing some obvious nerves as ASI took an early 10-7 lead. From there though, Loyola settled in and used some excellent long-range shooting to surge ahead and never look back en route to a 92-56 victory.
Although there were some areas that the team showed it still needs to improve upon, it was a great sign for the future as several newcomers displayed signs of their enormous potential, with Matt O'Leary leading the way with 22 points off the bench. Fellow freshmen Devon Turk (11 points), Keke White (11 points, 6 rebounds), Tanner Williams (9 points) and Jeremy King (3 rebounds and a handful of blocks) also were key contributors to the win, with Ben Averkamp chipping in 14 points and Cully Payne 10 assists, while Jordan Hicks notched a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds).
Today, the team got a chance to sleep in following last night's big win and after five fun-filled, and educational days in Rome, departed for Florence at 11 a.m. local time. With today being Assumption Day (Ferragosto) and a holiday in Italy, traffic was extraordinarily light so the trip was completed in about four hours including a stop for lunch along the way.
Once the team arrived in Florence, the first stop was Piazza Michelangelo for a breathtaking view of the city. Once the team checked into the hotel, it went through a film review session to breakdown last night's victory over All-Star Italy.
Tomorrow is bound to be another action-packed day with a tour of the Accademia Gallery one of many stops on a tour of Florence.
Thanks for following along with us on our journey through Italy.