LIU Brooklyn MBB NEC Gameday Opponent Breakdown – Game 5 – Fairleigh Dickinson Knights
Record: 7-10, (2-2 NEC, T-3rd); Last game: Loss vs NJIT, 66-63
KenPom Rank/RPI: 322/214
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Stratis Arena, Hackensack, NJ
TV/Web/Radio Coverage: Web: NEC Front Row / Radio: None
History between teams: 94th meeting. FDU leads all-time series 47-46. LIU has won the last seven meetings.
Who to watch for on Fairleigh Dickinson:
#44 Kinu Rochford - 6’6″ – F – Sr. – 16.2 ppg/10.1 rpg/57.9 FG%/70.0 FT% - Scored career & season-high 32 pts vs Longwood, scored 14 pts vs NJIT in his last game.
#5 Melquan Bolding - 6’3″ – G – Sr. – 14.8 ppg/4.5 rpg/42.3 FG%/69.0 FT% - Scored season-high 22 pts vs Longwood, scored 13 pts vs NJIT in last game.
#23 Lonnie Robinson – 6’5″ – F – Sr. – 12.3 ppg/3.5 rpg/46.9 FG%/68.5 FT% - Scored season-high 21 pts vs Lehigh, scored 11 pts vs NJIT in last game.
Matchups to watch:
Double-double machine Kinu Rochford vs Jamal Olasewere. Rochford leads the NEC in rebounds and is the team’s leading scorer. Olasewere leads the NEC in points per 40 minutes and fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Rochford is eighth in the NEC in points per game, Olasewere is second. It should a great battle in the paint between these two guys.
FDU comes into this game 2-2 in the NEC and 7-10 overall. The Knights have already won four more games than they did all of last season and they have already equaled their NEC win total from all of last season. The big reason for their improvement in their play this season has been due to the play of their starting seniors: Kinu Rochford, Melquan Bolding, and Lonnie Robinson.
Kinu Rochford has been a revelation this season. He currently leads the NEC in double-doubles with eight. He has done this while playing in only 13 games so far this season. Rochford leads the Knights in scoring at 16.2 ppg, good for eighth in the NEC. He also lead them in rebounds at 10.1 rpg as well as in blocks at 1.31 bpg which is currently fourth in the NEC. One thing Rochford is been having issues with of late is with foul trouble. He has fouled out in 3 of his last four games and the one he didn’t, he played with four fouls. Last season, Rochford fouled out of eight games.
The Knights’ second-leading scorer is Melquan Bolding. He is averaging 14.8 ppg this season. Although, in his last four games, he is averaging just 12.7 ppg while shooting 31.2% from the field. Overall, Bolding is shooting 42.3% from the floor including just 31% from beyond the arc. Lonnie Robinson is the next leading scorer at 12.3 ppg. He is second in the NEC in three-point shooting percentage just .001 off from the NEC leader Jason Brickman. Last time out vs NJIT, Robinson shot 3 of 4 from three.
This game features two of the worst defensive teams in the NEC. FDU is eleventh in the NEC in scoring defense at 78.8 points per game and are eighth in the NEC in scoring offense at 66.6 points per game. LIU Brooklyn is currently ranked last in the NEC in scoring defense allowing 78.8 ppg. The Knights are second in the NEC in field goal percentage (44.9%) and effective field goal percentage (51.4%) and are first in the NEC in three point shooting percentage at 39.9%. They are eighth in the NEC in team free throw percentage at 68.8%. FDU score an NEC eighth-best 0.942 points per possession while allowing an NEC-worse 1.121 points per possession.
LIU Brooklyn finally broke their six-game losing streak last time out vs Mount St. Mary’s. Although LIU only allowed MSM to shoot 43% from the floor, MSM were able to score 1.13 points per possession. LIU offense was more of the show against MSM as they shot 58% against them. It was their second-best field goal percentage of the season. Their 1.276 points per possession was their second-best offensive of the season outside of the Rice game.
Two players who had really strong games last time out were C.J. Garner and E.J. Reed. Garner had his strongest game of the season last time out vs MSM. He finished with 19 points and did a lot of ball handling against the MSM press and was very effective against it. E.J. Reed this week was named NEC Rookie of the Week for the third straight week. In the last five games, Reed has averaged 15.6 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game in just over 27 minutes a game. He is gaining more and more confidence every time he steps out on the floor.
Jamal Olasewere is coming off his most efficient game of the season. He shot 7 for 10 from the floor, scoring 16 points. He stayed out of the foul trouble for the most part vs MSM especially just picking up one foul in the second half. Olasewere only went to the foul line twice vs MSM which was his lowest number of foul shots in a game all season. He has now dropped to second in the nation in fouls drawn per 40 minutes with 9.1.
Jason Brickman had his fourth double-digit assist game of the season last time out. His 8.3 assists per game is now second on the nation which is over an assist behind top assist-man Michael Carter-Williams who has 9.4 apg. Brickman scoring has dropped to under 10 ppg to 9.9 ppg as his shot attempts have fallen. Last game, Brickman shot only 3 shots vs MSM. Brickman is still shooting an NEC-best effective field goal percentage of 65.2%. He still needs to try and put up more attempts as he only has nine shot attempts in the last two games.
Look for a high scoring affair in this one with both teams loving to give up points. LIU will need to do a good job on the boards against FDU as they did against MSM with a +13 rebounding margin. Jack Perri who is still experimenting with his rotation looks like he is settling with seven core player with his starting five along with Reed and Gerrell Martin. He will mix in Hucks, Griggs, Joseph and Murphy in as needed if foul trouble occurs or if he is looking for a change of pace.
The Blackbirds have a chance this week to get back to .500 in the NEC with a 2-0 week. Both games are winnable games (at FDU, vs Monmouth on Saturday) and LIU will need to get both of them to get back in the mix in this conference. LIU can’t offer to fall further behind with Bryant at 4-0, SFC & Wagner at 3-1 and RMU at 2-2. They need to get the job done this week at all cost.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has LIU Brooklyn beating FDU by a projected score of 87-83 with a 62% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win.
The Blackbirds return to the Wellness Center to face the Monmouth Hawks. Tip-off time is schedule for 4:30 PM. It is the second game of a women’s/men’s doubleheader with the women’s game starting at 2 PM.