Opponent (Conference Affiliation): Lehigh Mountain Hawks (Patriot League)
Current KenPom Ranking: 211 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 270- down from 265 before last game)
Time: 7:30 PM
Location: Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, PA
Meeting History: 3rd all-time meeting. LIU leads series 2-0. Last meeting: @ LIU Brooklyn, 66-56, W (2004-05)
Lehigh Players to Watch:
1. Mackey McKnight #11 – 6’0″ Guard – Sr. – 14.9 ppg/3.3 rpg/5.8 apg/41.8 FG%/26.3 3FG%/34.8 mpg
2. Tim Kempton #32 – 6’10” C/F – Fr. – 13.5 ppg/5.7 rpg/51.1 FG%/26.5 mpg
3. Corey Schaefer #15 – 6’1″ Guard – Jr. – 10.1 ppg/2.7 rpg/2.7 apg/45.7 FG%/35.3 3FG%/33.6 mpg
The Blackbirds travel to Pennsylvania to face a hot Lehigh team who have won three straight and four of their last five games. In their three game winning streak, Lehigh has beaten two NEC teams in Sacred Heart and St. Francis University (PA).
In winning four of five, they held their opponents to no more than 68 points and under 0.95 points per possession.
The Mountain Hawks currently have four double-digit scorers. They are led by senior guard Mackey McKnight who leads Lehigh in scoring (14.9 ppg), assists (5.8 apg), and minutes played (34.8 mpg). McKnight this season has dropped 31 points on Fordham and 21 points against South Dakota State. He has scored in double figures in all but two games this season.
6’10” freshman center/forward Tim Kempton is Lehigh’s second leading scorer (13.5 ppg). He leads them in points per 40 minutes (20.9 ppg) and usage percentage (52.7%). Kempton is Lehigh’s tallest player on their roster. He scored back-to-back 20-point games against Pitt and Texas Southern.
Freshman guard Austin Price (10.3 ppg) and junior guard Corey Schaefer (10.1 ppg) are the other double-digit scorers. Price leads them in free throw shooting (81.8%) and scored a season-high 21 points against Rider. Schaefer has scored at least 10 points in each of his last three games. Also, sophomore forward Jesse Chuku leads Lehigh in rebounding (6.7 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg). Chuku put in 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against Sacred Heart.
Lehigh is currently seventh in the Patriot League in points scored per game (68.1 ppg). They average 68.2 possessions per game which puts their ppp average at 1.0. They shoot 50% from the field but just 32.8% from downtown. One thing they have a problem with is rebounding. Lehigh is dead last in the Patriot League in rebounding at 26.9 rpg. LIU actually has a +0.9 rebounding margin over Lehigh.
One thing that is hard to do against Lehigh is shoot a high percentage. Lehigh is giving up an effective field goal percentage of 42% which is third-best in the Patriot League. They do give up 71.5 ppg.
LIU Brooklyn is coming off a 11-point loss at Seton Hall. Coming into this game, Jason Brickman needs just 15 more assists to pass Marist’s Drafton Davis and become the NEC’s all-time career assist leader. He currently has 790 career assists. Brickman still leads the nation in assists with 10.1 apg.
The Blackbirds have four players currently averaging above 10.0 ppg in E.J. Reed (12.6), Gerrell Martin (11.7), Gilbert Parga (11.6) and Landon Atterberry (11.1). Jason Brickman just missed being the fifth player at 9.9 ppg.
The out-rebounding streak continues for LIU as they have been out-rebounded in every game this season. They just lost the rebounding battle to Seton Hall last Thursday by one. The Blackbirds also have not held an opponent this season to under 1.0 points per possession.
Brickman just missed a double-double (19 pts/9 asts) vs Seton Hall while Reed got his first double-double of the season (15 pts/11 rebs). Reed also fouled out vs Seton Hall for his second disqualification of the season. Reed is currently leads LIU in fouls (25) by three over freshman Glenn Feidanga (22).
Landon Atterberry is coming off a tough game versus Seton Hall where he was mired in foul trouble, playing in only 17 minutes. He scored 11 points for his third straight double-digit scoring game but had no rebounds. He will likely have another tough defensive mathcup with the 6’10” Tim Kempton.
Troy Joseph has started the last three games for LIU as Gilbert Parga has missed LIU’s last two games with a lacerated elbow. He is coming off an underwhelming game where he just put up 2 points and 4 rebounds in 32 minutes against Seton Hall.
Parga was expected to be back in the LIU lineup last game but missed his second straight with the elbow injury. LIU hopes to have him back for this game.
Chris Carter is coming off his best game as a Blackbird with 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting in 18 minutes.
LIU Brooklyn is shooting just over 40% from the floor this season through seven games and have allowed opponents to shoot close to 50% from three.
LIU will need to stay out of foul trouble against Lehigh which they couldn’t go against the tallest, bigger Seton Hall squad. Reed and Atterberry need to play 28+ minutes each for LIU to have a chance to win this game. Also, they need to get Gilbert Parga back and let him penetrate and get to the foul line which is something LIU has been missing since Parga has been out of the lineup although Reed picked up some of the slack with 10 free throw attempts against Seton Hall.
Brickman is coming out of his shooting woes a bit as he is 9 of 16 from the field in his last two games including 5 of 11 from three. LIU has a good chance to break their out-rebounded streak against Lehigh. If they can push the pace, control the boards and protect the three-point line, they have a good chance of getting their first win on the road. They need to get a balanced scoring attack which has been the most successful approach for them this season and has led them to the two wins they have this season.
KenPom Score Projection: 76-68 Lehigh (LIU Win Probability: 21%)
Next up for the Blackbirds:
LIU Brooklyn completes their Newark-PA-Newark road trip as they return back to Newark for the second time in a week to face the NJIT Highlanders on Thursday, December 12 at 7:00pm.