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Nebraska men's hoops practice, 7.23

Nebraska freshman forward Kevin Cross (1) guards junior guard Jervay Green during a drill on July 23 at the Hendricks Training Complex.

Fred Hoiberg is 1-0 as Nebraska's head coach. At least in exhibition games.

Hoiberg's first Husker team started its Italy trip with an 87-56 win over Stella Azzura Monday afternoon in Rome.

"Like I told them in the locker room," Hoiberg said to the Husker Sports Radio Network. "Sometimes the first one is the most difficult, and it's good to get that one behind us."

Jervay Green led NU with 15 points. He, along with Dachon Burke, Matej Kavas, Haanif Cheatham and Thorir Thorbjarnarson comprised Hoiberg's first starting lineup of the trip.

Freshman Kevin Cross scored 13 points while Dachon Burke had 11 as all 12 Huskers in uniform scored. Matej Kavas added 10 points while Shamiel Stevenson had nine and Haanif Cheatham and Dalano Banton each had seven.

Nebraska was without four players: Cam Mack, Yvan Ouedraogo, Akol Arop and Derrick Walker.

Mack and Arop did not make the trip to Italy -- Mack because of an undisclosed illness that landed him in the hospital for a few days, and Arop because of paperwork issues that prevented him from traveling overseas with the team.

Ouedraogo just finished competing with France in the FIBA U18 European Championships and hasn't yet been cleared by Nebraska to play with the team. Walker, the Tennessee transfer, is with the team but didn't play as he deals with a nagging summer injury.

One player who did get early playing time was Lincoln Pius X walk-on Charlie Easley, who was one of the first few players off the bench. The Super-Stater hit a three-pointer late in the game for his only points.

Nebraska, which spent much of Monday touring Vatican City trailed 5-1 in the opening minutes, but NU eventually pulled away against the physically overmatched Stella Azzurra squad.

"The biggest thing you want to see in a situation like this is for the team to go out and compete for 40 minutes whatever the circumstance is, and I thought we competed really well for about 30 of the 40 minutes," Hoiberg said. "I thought we took our foot off the gas a little bit... We didn't do the things that made us successful early, which was pushing the ball, playing unselfishly, and not having the same type of movement."

While no official statistics other than scoring were available, the Huskers appeared to bother Stella Azzura with their length by forcing several turnovers that turned into runouts on the other end.

Nebraska indeed pushed the pace at every opportunity, oftentimes getting a look at the rim or a draw-and-kick three-pointer.

The Huskers certainly had their share of miscues, which was to be expected. But no matter how little it matters in the long run, a win is still a win.

"For the first time out here together, playing against another team, I was very pleased," Hoiberg said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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