Record: 6-8, (1-2 NEC, T-3rd); Last game: Loss at St. Francis Brooklyn, 70-56
KenPom Rank/RPI: 285/200
Time: 2:30 PM, game is the second half of a women’s/men’s doubleheader. Women’s game vs Mount St. Mary’s starts at noon.
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
History between teams: 47th meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads all-time series 24-22. LIU has won the last five meetings and six of the last seven.
Who to watch for on Mount St. Mary’s:
#22 Rashad Whack – 6’2″ – G – Jr. – 12.3 ppg/3.1 rpg/40.4 FG%/78.1 FT% – Scored career-high 20 pts vs Hartford, scored 17 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in his last game.
#3 Sam Prescott – 6’3″ – G – Jr. – 10.2 ppg/3.0 rpg/33.8 FG%/88.5 FT% – Scored season-high 15 pts three times, scored 11 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game.
#23 Julian Norfleet– 6’2″ – G – Jr. – 9.1 ppg/1.9 rpg/38.6 FG%/57.1 FT% – Scored season-high 14 pts twice, scored 4 pts vs St. Francis Brooklyn in last game.
Matchups to watch:
Rashad Whack & Julian Norfleet vs C.J. Garner & Brandon Thompson. Each guard duo averages are nearly equal to one another. Whack & Garner are the two more consistent players for each side in this matchup. Either one can give you a big game. Norfleet & Thompson have been up and down all year long. Norfleet is in a bit of a downward trend while Thompson was on an upward trend until this past game vs Wagner which wasn’t good. The pair that steps up is likely the one whose team will win.
Mount St. Mary’s is in year one of the Jamion Christian era and there has been, as some might have expected from a team in transition, some ups and down this season. The Mountaineers had a decent non-conference season going 5-6. So far, in NEC play they have gone lose one, win one, lose one. Does this mean it is time for them to win one?
The Mount is currently tenth in the NEC in scoring offense at 61.1 points per game and are sixth in effective field goal percentage (48.3%). As we learned from the Wagner game, throw these numbers out the window as the Mount faced one of the worst defensive team in the NEC in LIU Brooklyn. The Blackbirds have given up an eFG% of 51.5 to their opponents which is eleventh in the NEC and a 1.10 points per possession on defense, tied for second-worst in the NEC.
Transfer Rashad Whack leads Mount St. Mary’s in scoring at 12.3 points per game. He is also the team’s best three-point shooter at 37.5% and is one of the top guys in steals in the nation at 2.6 steals a game. Another transfer Sam Prescott is the second-leading scorer for the Mount coming off the bench. He is the team’s best free-throw shooter and is tied with forward Kristijan Krajina for the team lead in rebounds at 3.4 per game. Julian Norfleet has started all 14 games for Mount St. Mary’s while averaging 9.1 ppg with an eFG% of 47.2%. He also leads the team in playing time at nearly 30 minutes per game. Kristijian Krajina is their most productive forward. The 6’9″ redshirt-junior forward is getting just under 7 ppg while playing under 19 minutes a game. He recently had a stretch of three straight games where he scored at least 14 points per game while playing at least 25 minutes. Point guard Josh Castellanos returned back to the Mount lineup vs St. Francis Brooklyn on Thursday after a one-game absence due to injury. Castellano leads the team in assists with 3.7 apg.
LIU Brooklyn is in the midst of their roughest patch in over three years. They are currently on a six-game slide, their longest losing streak since losing six straight back in December through early January of 2009-10. The Blackbirds haven’t started 0-3 in the NEC since the 2003-04 season which was Jim Ferry’s second season as head coach. Defense has been the Achilles’ Heel of the Blackbirds all season long. During this losing streak the Blackbirds have allowed their opposition to do the following: score 82.5 ppg, score 1.18 points per possession and shoot 55.3% from the field including 51.5% from three. LIU themselves have shoot only 42.8% from the field during this six-game losing streak, averaging 71.1 points per game.
Jamal Olasewere in his last four games is averaging 19.2 ppg and 9.2 rpg although he is just shooting 41.3% from the field. He has committed 24 turnovers in that span which is 6 turnovers a game. Freshman E.J. Reed has stepped his play in the last four games. Reed is averaging 14.2 ppg and 3.7 rpg in the last four games while shooting 50% from the field. Gerrell Martin is coming off a career-high 15 points vs Wagner. Martin broke his nose in practice on Tuesday and is wearing a protective mask. C.J. Garner is now wearing number 24, shunning his old number 3. It is the third number he has worn in his LIU career (#12 in his first year with LIU, #3 up until December 29 at Lamar)
LIU is seeking their first-ever win at the Barclays Center where they are 0-2. This is their first NEC game at the new Brooklyn arena.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has LIU Brooklyn beating Mount St. Mary’s by a projected score of 83-74 with a 78% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win.
The Blackbirds head back on the road to take on Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday, January 17. Tip is scheduled for 7:00pm.