Blackbirds stuns Bryant on the road for their 5th NEC straight win

#15 Jason Brickman with second straight double-double (11 points, 10 assists) vs Bryant

#15 Jason Brickman with second straight double-double (11 points, 10 assists) vs Bryant

Game Highlights

Full Game Replay

In what will likely be one of the best games of the NEC season, LIU Brooklyn for the second straight game came back from a double-digit and halftime deficit to win. This time it was against the first-place Bryant Bulldogs in front of a nearly capacity crowd at the Chace Athletic Center. The Blackbirds defeated Bryant, 79-78, on “White-Out” day, leaving the Bryant fans red with anger. The win gives LIU a 2-0 week and brings the current winning streak now to five games.

The game was eerily similar to the game LIU played on Thursday against St. Francis Brooklyn. LIU struggled in the first half against the Bulldogs just like they did against the Terriers on Thursday night. Bryant shot 62.1% from the field in the first half. The Blackbirds had trouble stopping the sophomore transfer Dyami Starks. Starks was unconscience shooting the ball. He was 8 for 11 shooting and an incredible 6 of 8 from three, scoring 22 first half points. At one time, he was 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.

LIU was able to stay in the game thanks to a unlikely source of late, the bench. Booker Hucks had a huge first half with 11 points on 3 of 4 shooting, all from three. E.J. Reed also stepped up with 13 points on 4 of 4 shooting and 5 of 6 from the free throw line. Those two guys combined to outscore the starters 24 to 18 in the first half. LIU found themselves as far down as 13 point with just over a minute to go before the end of the half. This is where the game turned.

It all started with a huge pair of three-pointers from Jason Brickman on back-to-back possessions before an Kenny Onyechi layup ended the first half scoring and Bryant up seven at the break at 49-42.

LIU kept the momentum going with a 12-1 run to start the second half. Jamal Olasewere who struggled mightily in the first half with just four points and three first half fouls, came out of the break like a man possessed. He scored 9 of LIU’s first 14 second half points. LIU also stayed with a 2-3 zone on defense even though Bryant, in particularly Dyami Starks, were torching LIU with threes on it. The decision by LIU head coach Jack Perri paid off as Bryant shot just 16% from three in the second half. Starks didn’t have the clean looks he was having in the first half and missed all four of his second half three attempts.

In the closing minutes with LIU Brooklyn up by three, LIU’s Jamal Olasewere and Bryant’s Alex Francis went back and forth against each other scoring baskets. With five seconds left, Dyami Starks missed a three to tie but Francis grabbed the rebound and put it back in and drew a foul on Olasewere with 1.2 seconds left. But Francis missed the free throw that would have taken the game into overtime. Olasewere rebounds the missed free throw and the clock runs out to give LIU Brooklyn the big road victory.

The Blackbirds held Bryant to 40% shooting in the second half and finished the game shooting 51.8%. LIU Brooklyn shot 53.3% for the game. In one of my keys to the game, LIU was able to hold Bryant to under 40% from three as they finished shooting 38.5%. Both teams scored 1.18 points per possession as LIU got 67 possessions and Bryant 66.

LIU Brooklyn got 19 points and 7 rebounds from Jamal Olasewere, 14 of those points came in the second half. E.J. Reed (15 pts) and Booker Hucks (14 pts) combined for a big 29 points off the bench. Troy Joseph, although he got a technical foul on a double tech to him and Bryant’s Corey Maynard, played 16 good minutes. He had 4 points, 4 rebounds and one huge follow dunk that was SportsCenter Top 10 worthy. The player of the game was Jason Brickman. He finished with 11 points, 10 assists and just two turnovers. His two three-pointers at the end of the first half saved LIU from a blowout and allowed them to make the comeback.

Bryant got 25 points from Dyami Starks but just three second-half points. Alex Francis had 16 points. He sat a good chunk of the second half with foul trouble. Frankie Dobbs had 13 points on just 6 shots.

LIU out-rebounded Bryant by 10. They had 12 turnovers but just three turnovers in the second half. LIU now matches their season-high five game winning streak which followed the four-game losing streak which LIU started the season on. They start 2-0 on this make-or-break six game stretch they are on. They are now 5-3 in the NEC and back to .500 overall at 10-10. LIU is now tied with Wagner fourth in the conference. Robert Morris, Bryant and Sacred Heart are all tied for first at 6-2. Also to note, this win is big because LIU and Bryant only play each other once this season so if they end up tied at the end of the season, LIU now has the tie-breaker over them.

LIU Brooklyn will looking to keep the ball rolling against St. Francis (PA) back at the Wellness Center Thursday night. It is a sandwich game as it comes between Bryant and always huge game between Robert Morris at home next Saturday, which will be nationally-televised on ESPNU. LIU will need to stay focused and not look past SFPA. After this great 2-0 week, the last thing LIU can do is slip up and lose all this momentum. Next week, now that the students are back in class, hopefully the crowd turnout will be better. Nothing is better than seeing and hearing the WRAC rocking.

Comments

  1. Nelson,
    Big fan good stuff. If you remember back to this teams 1st tournament run they played man to man in the first half and then went to their 2-3 defense in the second half. I think they got away from it last year when Kyle Johnson graduated and Mike Culpo was inserted in. Makes one side of the defense really small, as well as CJ Garner at the 2 up top instead of David Hicks, another size down grade. Not sure if that was just a necessary adjustment that was made or not. Most of the damage done by Starks was done in man by driveand kick action. In the second half the zone simply matched up to the perimeter and left the middle open since it was the big Euro. I would expect them to go to it but not necessarily live or die by it.

    • Jim Ferry did run some 2-3 zone but not a lot of it. I feel Jack Perri has used 2-3 a lot more than Ferry did the last couple of years. Of course, Perri has been forced to go to it more to get back in games this season. Perri I think would rather stick to mostly man-to-man defense but going more zone has helped with his forwards when they have been in foul trouble. LIU did go 2-3 in that first half and Starks was still lighting them up. For some reason, it just worked better in the second half and Starks couldn’t find the same looks he was able to find in the first half.

  2. Another outstanding effort by the Blackbirds yesterday…Do you think the 2-3 Zone will now become the primary defense LIU employs?…It seemed to get better in the second half..

    I still cannnot figure out why Thompson gets twice the minutes of Hucks and Joseph…but at least Joseph is getting more playing time lately.. Hucks has been outstanding..14 points in 15 minutes yesterday…

    LIU…with the return of Onyechi can now count on 9 players to contribute… and if Murphy has to play some minutesw he doesn’t really hurt them.

    Sam

    • Thanks again Sam. With regards to question about the 2-3 zone, the simple answer is no. Jack Perri is from the Jim Ferry school of man-to-man defense so I don’t believe that philosophy is going to change. With all the three point shooters Bryant had, they had to go to 2-3 to cover the three point line. It worked great in the second half, not so much in the first. As far Thompson goes, he is inconsistent with his scoring but the coaches trust him a lot. I like both Hucks and Joseph. I think Hucks works in certain matchups. He is a good shooter and underrated defensive guy. Joseph has talent and lately I think he has surpassed Martin in the depth chart more because of his size than anything else.

      • I agree with you that the defense probablly will not change…However, any guard who is 6’2″ or taller always has a career high against LIU..

        The Blackbird defense is one of the worst (statistically) in the country.. so a partial change should at least be considered…Maybe if they started the game in a Zone and then switched to an aggressive man-to-man would help keep Olasaware out of early foul trouble.

        What exactly to they have to lose?

        Sam

  3. What an exciting game hats off to the blackbirds .Great job as usual Nelly

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