Kansas State began its European tour of exhibition basketball games with a loss Wednesday, falling to LCC International University 82-75 in Rome.
The Wildcats battled a series of flight cancellations on their way to Italy and played like a tired team after arriving a day late.
They trailed by as many as 18 before pulling to within four in the final minute. K-State coach Bruce Weber was proud of that rally, but it wasn’t enough.
“I was definitely pleased that our players continue to battle after dealing with some very difficult travel issues and almost no sleep over the last two nights,” Weber said. “I thought the game was good for us to deal with some adversity and learn more about our team. Developing toughness is one of our main goals for the trip and certainly tonight’s game has helped in that regard.”
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Senior forward D.J. Johnson led K-State with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman wing Xavier Sneed added 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Senior point guard Carlbe Ervin contributed in several areas, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and five assists.
“I was really pleased with the play of D.J. and Carlbe,” Weber said. “D.J. to have a double-double and Carlbe to add 8 points, 9 rebounds and lead us in assists was great from two of our seniors.”
Their teammates weren’t as sharp. The Wildcats made 37.2 percent of their shots as a team, going 4 for 24 from three-point range.
This was the first of five exhibitions for K-State on its foreign trip. The Wildcats are next in action Thursday against BC Silute in Rome