Record: 4-8, (0-1 NEC); Last game: Loss at home to St. Francis Brooklyn, 63-61
KenPom Rank/RPI: 216/248
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: TD Bank Sports Center, Hamden, CT
History between teams: 29th meeting. Quinnipiac leads the series 15-14. LIU has won the last four meetings.
Who to watch for on Quinnipiac:
#4 Ike Azotam – 6’7″ – F – Jr. – 13.3 ppg/9.1 rpg/47.4 FG%/62.7 FT% – Scored season-high 21 pts vs Iona, scored 4 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game
#1 Zaid Hearst– 6’4″ – G – So. – 8.9 ppg/5.7 rpg/40.0 FG%/81.8 FT% – Scored season-high 18 pts vs Boston University, scored 13 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game
#35 Jamee Jackson– 6’7″ – F – Sr. – 8.2 ppg/4.4 rpg/44.2 FG%/49.2 FT% – Scored season-high 17 pts vs Iona, scored 12 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game
Matchups to watch:
Ike Azotam vs LIU Brooklyn entire front court. What can LIU’s front court do to try and keep Azotam from having a monster game in the same vain SHU’s Louis Montes had against this smaller, weaker front court? Going to be tough for the Blackbirds.
A pair of 0-1 NEC teams meet up in this clash at the TD Bank Sports Center for what will be the final time in NEC regular season play. Quinnipiac is heading to the MAAC conference next season. LIU Brooklyn comes in reeling, losers of four-straight games. Quinnipiac isn’t doing much better. They have lost two in a row and four out of their last five. Quinnipiac lost in excruciating fashion to St. Francis Brooklyn in their NEC opener on Thursday night, giving up a game-winning layup with nine seconds left.
Quinnipiac comes in as the best rebounding team in the NEC. They grab close to 38 rebounds a game. Against St. Francis Brooklyn, they grabbed 56 rebounds. They’re a great rebounding team but they are not a great offensive team. They score 0.91 points per possession which is tied for ninth in the NEC. Their effective field goal percentage is only 43.5%, 10th in the NEC due to the fact they have the second-worst three-point percentage in the NEC at 29.1%. Their success lies on the defensive end where they only allow 0.97 points per possession which second-best in the NEC while allowing 69 points per game. Teams shoot only an effective field goal percentage of 42% against them.
Ike Azotam leads Quinnipiac in scoring and rebounding at 13.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Azotam shooting percentage is down this season compared to last season. He is currently shooting 47.4%. Last season, he shot over 56%. Oddly, he played in only 13 minutes vs SFC on Thursday scoring just four points. He’ll likely be looking to have a good bounce back game vs LIU. Garvey Young is the team’s second-leading scorer but he has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle and he is expected to miss this game as well. Sophomore shooting guard Zaid Hearst is the team’s next leading scorer at 8.9 ppg. Hearst is shooting 40% from the field and just 26.5% from three. Quinnipiac has another pair of good forwards in Jamee Jackson and Ousmane Drame to go along with Azotam. This will be a formidable front line for a depleted LIU team.
For LIU, they will need to give the same effort they did the first seventeen minutes of the first half and the last fourteen minutes of the second. They are going to have to give a full 40 minutes effort against a team who is bigger, stronger and deeper than they are at the present time. Jamal Olasewere, C.J. Garner and Troy Joseph will serve the second game of their two-game suspension in this one. It looks like LIU will once again go with the same starting lineup that started against Sacred Heart on Thursday in Jason Brickman, Gerrell Martin, Brandon Thompson, E.J. Reed and Kenny Onyechi. Expect to see plenty of Booker Hucks who was terrific against Sacred Heart. D.J. Griggs will likely see plenty of playing time as well if Martin doesn’t get it going.
Jason Brickman played a superb game versus Sacred Heart. He ended up with 11 points and 9 assists but he could have easily gotten at least another 4 or 5 more assists and he was blocked on a layup in the final minute that would have cut SHU’s lead to one. LIU will once again need a herculean effort from Brickman to stay close and give themselves a chance in the closing minutes once again. Head Coach Jack Perri may have no choice but to play Brickman the full 40 minutes. He practically did that on Thursday versus Sacred Heart. E.J. Reed did a nice job subbing in for Olasewere in the starting five although he only went 3 for 10 from the floor. He will be up against a much stronger group of forwards who aren’t afraid to bang him around. He might have some problems in this one. It will be interesting to see who closes out the game as much as who starts it for LIU. LIU closed the game with Griggs, Brickman, Thompson, Hucks and Reed before Reed fouled out in the closing seconds. It was easily the best unit Perri put on the floor. Let’s see what combo of the eight guys he has available will provide the right scoring, rebounding and defensive mix that can keep them close against the Bobcats.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has Quinnipiac beating LIU Brooklyn by a projected score of 84-81 with a 38% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win. This projection is based on a full squad LIU Brooklyn team playing which we all know isn’t going to be the case.
The Blackbirds return to the friendly confines of the Wellness Center for a crucial matchup against Wagner on Thursday, January 10. Tip is scheduled for 7pm.