When I spoke with LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri at NEC Media Day back in mid-October, I asked him about having to play 3 games in 3 days all the way out in the west coast. He knew it was going to be a difficult three days. He knew his team would be facing a major challenge in facing some bigger teams without his full arsenal of front court players. Yet, it would be hard for me to imagine that he thought his team would go to California and come back home to Brooklyn without a single victory.
Well, unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds out west. LIU couldn’t salvage a win out of the west coast trip to Irvine at the 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional. They dropped the third and final game of the their three games in three days trip to the Boston University Terriers 72-57. The 57 points scored by LIU is the lowest points total the Blackbirds have scored so far this season.
LIU entered the game on Sunday looking to avoid getting blown out for the third straight game after losses of 20 and 32 points respectively the previous two games. The Blackbirds showed fight at the start of this one, playing it close for the first ten minutes. But then the Terriers would end the first half on a 20-7 run to take a commanding 37-23 lead to the locker room. It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
LIU wouldn’t get any closer than seven points to the Terriers in the second half. Once again, the Blackbirds had a difficult time shooting the ball finishing the game with a 34.6 FG percentage. LIU finished the game shooting 5 of 22 from three after going the first half 0 for 11 from deep. Boston U. shot 49% in the game and 8 of 28 from three. As every opponent has done so far this season, Boston U. scored above 1.0 points per possession as LIU gave up 1.25 ppp to the Terriers. It was a tough weekend defensively for LIU gave up 1.30 ppp in the three games in Irvine and LIU’s three opponents shot 56% from the field through the weekend.
The Blackbirds was once again out-rebounded by eight, 38-30. LIU has been out-rebounded in every game so far this season as the lack of front court size and depth has really hurt LIU over the weekend.
The Terriers had four players score in double figures including starters Maurice Watson Jr. (16 pts), John Papale (14 pts), and D.J. Irving (11 pts). Malik Thomas scored 13 points off the bench for Boston U. as the Patriot League favorite raise their record to 4-2 with the win.
LIU got a nice rebound performance from sophomore forward E.J. Reed who finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds less than 24 hours after scoring just 2 points against Eastern Washington. Landon Atterberry scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
Jason Brickman scored 5 points and dished out a game-high 12 assists to now get within 39 assists of becoming the NEC all-time leading assist man. Brickman did also have a game-high six turnovers and is still having trouble finding the mark on his shot. He went 2 of 7 from the field and 1 of 4 from deep. Brickman is currently now shooting 15% from deep (3-20).
Jack Perri changed up the starting lineup a bit for this game going with Troy Joseph at the third guard spot over Gilbert Parga who started the first four games. Parga has been struggling with his shot the last couple of games so Perri decided to change it up going with Joseph. He finished with five points in 26 minutes while Parga had just seven points in 20 minutes.
The LIU offense really struggled over the course of these three games in California. They averaged 63.3 ppg and scored just 0.9 ppp over the weekend while shooting 34.6% from the field. A question that can be asked is did the long ten day layoff after the near-upset at Indiana before this west coast trip had any effect on how LIU played the weekend after playing well in their first two games. You would have to think that is play a factor although it definitely wasn’t the only reason why LIU struggled this weekend.
The euphoria of the nice start to LIU’s season has now vanished and they are now 1-4 and in midst of a four game losing streak as they return back east and can finally look forward to play a game back in Brooklyn. The Blackbirds will finally play their season opener on campus at the friendly confines of the Steinberg Wellness Center. Not a moment too soon especially after the terrible weekend they suffered out west.
LIU will need to find their offense and look for a way to slow down teams on defense and keep them off the glass to put an end to their current slide.