Record: 1-18, (1-7 NEC, last); Last game: Loss vs Wagner, 81-56
KenPom Rank/RPI: 334/337
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY
History between teams: 65th meeting. Series is tied at 32. LIU has won last two meetings.
Who to watch for on Saint Francis U.:
#1 Umar Shannon* – 5’11” – G – Jr. – 13.4 ppg/4.1 apg/34.0 FG%/79.7 FT% – Scored season-high 26 pts vs Lehigh, scored 9 pts vs Quinnipiac in last game played on January 17.
#15 Earl Brown – 6’6″ – F – So. – 9.7 ppg/8.6 rpg/54.5 FG%/57.9 FT% – Scored season-high 17 pts twice, last time vs FDU, scored 12 pts vs Wagner in last game.
#42 Stephon Mosley* – 6’6″ – F – Fr. – 8.9 ppg/4.8 rpg/50.0 FG%/76/7 FT % – Scored career-high 19 pts vs FDU, scored 11 pts vs Sacred Heart in last game played on January 19.
* – Injured. Likely out for the game but are game time decisions.
Matchups to watch:
Earl Brown vs E.J. Reed: Two of the better up and coming young forwards will like square off against one another at times in this game. Brown, a sophomore. Reed, a freshman. These two have pretty similar body frames and similar motors. Brown was a double-double machine until recently. This will be a good test for the younger Reed who is coming off a really good game last time out.
To say Saint Francis University is having a long season would be an understatement. Its been brutal up in Loretto, PA this season. The Red Flash are 1-18. They won zero games in the non-conference. They got the one conference win out of the way early in their first conference game vs CCSU at home. To make things worse, they had to play without two of their top three players for the last couple of games with injuries. They have a first-year head coach in Rob Krimmel and this season has been a tough year for Krimmel dealing with plenty of growing pains on this young Red Flash squad. SFU have two seniors but neither have gotten much playing time as Krimmel has gone with younger guys to get them experience. Seven of their top eight players statistically are either freshman or sophomores.
Yet, it is a redshirt junior in Umar Shannon who leads the way for the Red Flash. Shannon leads the team in scoring and assists at 13.4 ppg and 4.1 apg. Shannon though has missed SFU’s last three games dealing with a lower body injury. It is still unknown if he will be in the lineup for Rob Krimmel vs LIU. Also missing in action of late is freshman forward Stephon Mosley. Mosley is having a nice rookie campaign. He is averaging 8.9 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 16 games this season with 14 starts. But he has missed SFU’s last two games with a concussion. It is unsure if he will be ready to play in this game.
According to the SFU game notes, both Shannon and Mosley are not in the starting lineup so it looks like they will likely be out for this game. If that is the case, the focus will turn to sophomore forward Earl Brown. Brown is having himself a breakout season for the Red Flash. He is averaging 9.7 ppg and 8.6 rpg. He is fourth in the NEC in rebounding and field goal shooting (54.5%). Brown recently had a streak of seven straight double-doubles including games where he grabbed 18 rebounds and in another, 25 rebounds. Brown can be a terror if he is left unguarded.
A player who has taken his opportunity with the recently injuries to the starters has been freshman guard Ben Millaud-Meunier. He has started the last three games for SFU and is averaging 18.0 ppg over that span. He has gone from 9.5 minutes per game off the bench to over 34 minutes per game as a starter. He is shooting 51% from the field (17-33) and 52% (12-23) from three in his last three games. LIU will need to keep an eye on him roaming behind the three-point line.
SFU is second to last in scoring offense and eighth in the NEC in scoring defense. They average a ninth-best 0.93 points per possession on offense and give up a league-worst 1.11 ppp on defense. They are also the slowest team in the NEC in terms of possessions per 40 minutes with 65.8. Their effective field percentage is 46.7, ninth in the NEC.
The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds are coming off an outstanding 2-0 week last week in which they beat St. Francis Brooklyn and Bryant on the road and are now within a game of first-place. This is your quintessential trap game. After coming off two big wins on the road and seeing another big game coming up on Saturday versus Robert Morris on ESPNU, LIU will have to stay focus and take care of business against a 1-18 team. LIU can’t afford to overlook any team in the NEC especially this season. With a win, they can get back over .500 overall and continue their winning streak which is currently at five games. Remember, LIU has lost to a one-win team once this season at Lamar who hasn’t beaten a team since. LIU head coach Jack Perri will need to make sure his team is ready to play and continue on the right path.
The Blackbirds have gotten good contributions from everyone of late. Jamal Olasewere has three double-doubles in his last five games, averaging close to 20 ppg and 10 rpg. C.J. Garner is averaging 17.6 ppg in the last five games. Jason Brickman is coming off his fourth double-double of the season. Brandon Thompson averaged 8 ppg last week. E.J. Reed and Booker Hucks stepped up big off the bench in particularly against Bryant. This team has slowly come together in this five-game winning streak.
LIU will need to concentrate on having a good full forty minutes. In the both of their last two games, they needed to comeback from double-digit first half deficits. It will be great to see if they can put this game away early with a good first half and give some rest to Brickman and Garner in the second half as these guys have had to log a ton of minutes this season. The game plan should be to take care of business at home, get everyone involved, play a solid forty minutes, stay healthy and keep the train running and then get ready for another big game come Saturday afternoon.
Ken Pomeroy’s Game Projection:
Ken Pomeroy on his website has LIU Brooklyn beating SFU by a projected score of 85-67 with a 92% probability of a LIU Brooklyn win.
The Blackbirds complete their two-game homestand against the Robert Morris Colonials. Tip is scheduled for 3pm. The men’s game is the second game of women’s/men’s doubleheader with the women’s game tipping off at noon. The men’s game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.