Well, the afterglow of winning the season opener at the Barclays Center and then taking the Indiana Hoosiers to the wire is quickly becoming a distant memory. After a ten day layoff, LIU Brooklyn has come back to action and it hasn’t been pretty.
After a blowout loss to UC-Irvine last night, LIU Brooklyn gets shell shocked with a 28-1 run to start the game by the Eastern Washington Eagles and it was never a contest as the Blackbirds fall 102-70 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California in the second game of the 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional. It was the first time LIU had given up at least 100 points to an opponent since exactly one year ago to the day when LIU gave up 104 points to the then defending national champs Kentucky.
As soon as you could sit down and get comfortable to put on the live stats (thanks to no video or audio of the game, EWU radio aired the football game over the basketball game), EWU was already up in front 15-0 to start within the first five minutes. After a Glenn Feidanga free throw stopped the run, EWU goes on a 13-0 run and the game was pretty much over from there on.
It is hard to understand how LIU came out of the gate so flat especially after getting blown out the night before and hoping they would want to put forth a better effort in a game which was going into this three game set at 2K Sports Classic was likely the easiest of the three opponents. Ken Pomeroy earlier in the week on his website had LIU favored to win this game (before changing it to a one point win in favor of EWU right before this game).
EWU shot a remarkable 63.9% from the field including an awesome 11 of 17 from three. EWU also out-rebounded LIU by 11 (40-29). LIU allowed EWU to score an outstanding 1.42 points per possession, a night after allowing 1.25 ppp to UC Irvine. LIU’s defense has really taken a major hit in these last two games. LIU has yet to hold an opponent to under 1.0 ppp this season. EWU’s entire starting five all scored in double figures led by 17 points each for forward Venky Jois and guard Parker Kelly.
The lone bright spot to come out of this disaster was the return of Gerrell Martin’s shooting. He led LIU in scoring with 17 on 6 of 10 shooting including a perfect 2 for 2 from deep. D.J. Griggs had a new career-high 13 points off the bench, hitting a pair of threes. After that, not much else to go crazy over. Gilbert Parga had 13 points but 11 of them came from the free throw line. He was 1 of 7 from the field. Jason Brickman had 9 points and 4 assists in 27 minutes but once again was cold from deep going just 1 of 6. E.J. Reed couldn’t get going in this game due to foul trouble and finished with just 2 points before fouling out. Glenn Feidanga (1 pt) also fouled out in this game.
LIU will have to play a whole lot better if they want to avoid getting swept out west. Tomorrow, they face the Boston University Terriers who were picked to win the Patriot League this season. If LIU is to salvage something from this trip, they will need to be up for this game and be ready to compete from the opening tip. Boston U. is a good team who lost to this same EWU team by just 12 on Friday night and lost to UConn by 17. If Boston U. loses to UC Irvine (game is in progress as I write this), you know they will be trying hard to avoid a sweep out west as well. This game tomorrow is a huge early season game for LIU. One that the Blackbirds will need more than they probably thought going into this weekend.