With the new year nearly upon us, its time to reflect and look back at 2012, another magical year for the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. A 25-9 season calumniating in a second-straight Northeast Conference regular season and tournament championship and a second straight appearance into the NCAA tournament. Time to look back and re-visit the top five LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball games of 2012.
#5: 2012 Battle of Brooklyn: St. Francis Brooklyn at LIU Brooklyn, February 12, 2012
It was the second of back-to-back meetings between the two Brooklyn rival schools. The first was played at Madison Square Garden where LIU won with relative ease 86-77. This game played four days later was the official Battle of Brooklyn game hosted by LIU. LIU had blown a 9-point lead with less than eight minutes to go to see SFC take a 5-point lead with 3 minutes left. LIU would tie it with :44 seconds to go with a Jamal Olasewere three-point play. SFC’s Akeem Johnson would hit a 1 of 2 from free throw line to give SFC back a one-point lead before LIU’s Julian Boyd hit a jumper to give LIU the lead with :18 left. Akeem Johnson would turn the ball over on SFC’s final possession and LIU’s C.J. Garner would provide the final margin at the free throw line for an LIU 81-78 win at the Wellness Center. Jamal Olasewere scored a career-high 32 points. Julian Boyd had a double-double 20 points and 10 rebounds. SFC’s Akeem Johnson has a team-high 23 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
#4: Hofstra at LIU Brooklyn, December 1, 2012
In the best game so far of the 2012-13 season, LIU Brooklyn took on a short-handed Hofstra squad who a few days earlier had suspended four of their players after they were arrested for burglary. Hofstra took that emotion of being so short-handed and started the second half with a 30 to 11 run that took the Pride from down 3 at the half to up 16 with 12 minutes left to go. With LIU down 14 with 6:54 left, LIU’s Julian Boyd would start the comeback with a dunk. Then in a span of 2:11, Boyd would score three straight baskets, grab two rebounds, record a block and make a steal. LIU would tie the game on a one-handed dunk by Boyd from an inbound pass by Jason Brickman and Boyd would get fouled and make complete the three-point play to give LIU the lead. Hofstra’s Taran Buie would then hit a jumper to give Hofstra back the lead before Jason Brickman would cut into the lane and kick out to wide open Booker Hucks, who was playing in his first game of the year coming back from injury, at the top of the key and Hucks drains a three to give LIU two-point lead with 40 seconds to play. David Imes would miss a three on the other end and Brandon Thompson would provide the final margin of victory at the free throw line to give LIU an incredible 88-84 win. Boyd would scored 20 points in what would be his final home appearance of the season as Boyd would be injured in the following game at Rice and would be lost for the season.
#3: Quinnipiac at LIU Brooklyn, NEC Tournament semifinals, March 4, 2012
In what would be the most important comeback of the 2011-12 season, LIU Brooklyn comes back from a late eight-point deficit to beat Quinnipiac 78-75 at the Wellness Center. LIU would have a four-point halftime lead and then get it up to 5 before Quinnipiac would call a timeout. After the timeout, Quinnipiac would go on a 21 to 8 run and take an eight-point lead with 7:35 left to go. LIU’s Julian Boyd would begin the charge back with a three-pointer. Jason Brickman would score four straight points then Boyd would get a three-point play to tie the game at 69 with 4:16 to go. LIU would get a pair of baskets from Brickman and Boyd and knock down their free throws plus play tight defense. LIU would finish the game on a 21 to 13 run after Quinnipiac was up 8 to beat the Bobcats by 3. LIU had four players in double figures led by Boyd’s 21 points and 9 rebounds. Jason Brickman scored 18.
#2: Robert Morris at LIU Brooklyn, NEC Tournament final, March 7, 2012
In the second consecutive meeting in the NEC tournament final, LIU Brooklyn would once again host the Robert Morris Colonials at a sold-out Wellness Center. Robert Morris would get off to a good start and take a four-point lead through the first twelve minutes of the game. RMU’s star point guard Velton Jones would get hurt in the opening minutes on a drive to the hoop on a breakaway and even though he stayed in the game, he didn’t have a tremendous impact in the game. After being down 4, LIU would go on a 13-0 run to essentially take the lead for good. They would take a 39-31 lead into the locker room. In the second half, it was pretty much all LIU and it included for me, the LIU play of the year, the beyond half court alley-oop from C.J. Garner to Julian Boyd.
LIU would go on to win by 17 and win their second consecutive NEC championship. LIU had five players score in double-figures including 21 points from C.J. Garner and Julian Boyd’s 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Blackbirds would make their fourth appearance into the NCAA tournament in which they would lose in the Round of 64 to #1 seed Michigan State in Columbus, OH.
#1: LIU Brooklyn at Wagner, January 21, 2012
In what may have the best atmosphere for a regular-season LIU Brooklyn game that I have ever attended, LIU Brooklyn outlasted a tenacious Wagner team to beat the Seahawks on the road at a sold-out Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, 73-66 in front of a national audience on ESPNU. LIU would start the game hot, taking a 13-4 lead. Wagner come back to take a four-point lead at 29-25 before LIU would come back to regain the lead and be up 3 at the half at 36-33. There would be five ties and a couple of lead changes in a back and forth, wild first half. The lead would change hands a couple more times in the first 3:10 of the second half before LIU would go on a 15 to 4 run that would give the Blackbirds a ten-point lead and give them control of the game. It was an intense game in a very loud gym at Wagner. It got heated in the postgame handshakes as Julian Boyd and Wagner’s assistant coach Bobby Hurley had choice words to say to each other and eventually had to pulled away from one another. Julian Boyd had yet another double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Jamal Olasewere had 17 points and Jason Brickman had 17 points and 8 assists. Unfortunately, ESPN took down the game highlights but thanks to Bob Dea, who was also at the game, here are a few photos. It was LIU’s biggest road win of the season and for me, it was the 2012 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball Game of the Year.