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GW Men's Basketball in Italy - Day 6, Pisa, Camp Darby and Pato

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Today marked the sixth day of our Italian tour and second game as we headed about an hour west of Florence to Pisa and the nearby joint U.S. Army and Air Force base Camp Darby is Livorno.

Our first stop was in Pisa's Piazza dei Miracoli, or Miracle Square, to see its cathedral, baptistery and the world famous Leaning Tower.  An awful lot of our team tried to hoist the tower back up into place through various poses and core exercises, and being from GW we might have just raised it a little higher. Or it could be the 8 tons of lead that was recently installed at the tower's base too, we may never know.  Our group thoroughly enjoyed one of the tour guides - an entertaining and sharp-witted gentleman named Roberto who took a particular liking of Kevin Larsen, Patricio Garino, and fellow baldie Coach Hajj Turner with frequent comedic jabs.

We then headed further west to Livorno for our clinic and game against Camp Darby, a still active American military installation slightly smaller than NSA Naples.  Coaches Strickland and Sutton ran their usual clockwork clinic with 20 children - explaining the fundamentals of the game before sending the kids off to our players for individual instruction.

We transitioned into our game against the Camp Darby servicemen and today established solid perimeter play in comparison to the early dominance in the paint against NSA Naples on Saturday.  Garino buried three first-half three-pointers en route to 11 points that sparked the Colonials to a 59-20 lead at the break. We continued to knock down shots from the outside, finishing with nine triples in all, and traded some transition baskets in a pretty open second half for a 97-45 final.

After the game, the folks from Camp Darby hosted a traditional American cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs and a GW-logo cake. Many of the servicemen rushed right from their jobs to play or attend, so our thanks go out to them as well as the staff and media who organized and promoted the event.

Our final destination of the day was a beach on the Tyrranean Sea - the portion of the Mediterranean on Italy's northwest coast - for a quick dip.  While some admired the water and the sunset, most of the players were mesmerized by a jellyfish-looking creature washed ashore. Now, we have some pre-med and engineering majors, but no marine biology majors, so the curiosity was a little baffling, but the attention quickly turned to the setting sun, the warm waters of the sea, the nearby flying fish, and a creature named Pato - which was actually Garino, whose nickname is Pato, playing some underwater tricks on his unsuspecting, and surprisingly frightened teammates.

Here are today's photos and video recap with game highlights courtesy of the @GW_MBB TwitVid channel.

Another great day exploring the country and serving our troops and their families abroad.  Tomorrow we'll visit Siena during an off day before our first of three straight days of games against Italian competition starting on Wednesday.

Buona notte

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