Deja Vu for LIU as Blackbirds gets second straight buzzer beating home win

Gerrell Martin drains a game-winning three with under a second remaining to give LIU Brooklyn second straight win (Photo: Bob Dea)

Gerrell Martin drains a game-winning three with under a second remaining to give LIU Brooklyn second straight win (Photo: Bob Dea)

Game Highlights (courtesy of LIU Athletics)

If the first two games at the Steinberg Wellness Center are any indication this season, it is best to bring your defibrillator to the games because the Blackbirds are beginning to make a habit of the getting into last second dramatics. For the second straight home game, LIU Brooklyn followed the same script. Brickman gets ball, races down court, finds an open Martin who nails a game-winning shot. This time though Martin buries a three with under a second remaining to beat Lamar in a nail biter, 82-79.

LIU Brooklyn and head coach Jack Perri have been ridden with injuries this season and that trend has only gotten worse as the season has gone on. Perri had only eight scholarships players available to him on his bench as injuries claimed two more of his players. Gilbert Parga who injured himself in LIU’s previous game against NJIT was out with a strained achilles and Chris Carter was out and will be out for some time now, at least six weeks to be exact, with a broken right foot. “It hurts us getting better in practice.” said Perri of the rash of injuries this season. “Our guys give great effort in practice. They’re listening in practice and then all of sudden when it comes to the games, it is different. It is frustrating to have limited bodies.”

Landon Atterberry finished with a LIU career-high 17 points in win vs Lamar (Photo: Bob Dea)

Landon Atterberry finished with a LIU career-high 17 points in win vs Lamar (Photo: Bob Dea)

So with another front court player down and another part time front court player out for this game, it became imperative for LIU starting front court guys, E.J. Reed and Landon Atterberry to come up big. But the officials whistles had another thing in mind and in the first half, they put their whistles to good use calling 22 total fouls but more importantly, putting the Blackbirds in deep foul trouble. Four LIU players were whistled for two fouls each including all three front court players and it forced Perri towards the end of the half to have to roll the dice and play guys with two fouls which Perri doesn’t want to have to do.

“It is a lot of things.” said Perri of LIU’s front court foul troubles this season. “One, they’re young. Glenn Feidanga is very young, he plays really hard but he is got to learn to play without fouling, it is like most freshman college basketball players. Landon Atterberry is coming from a junior college so he is still trying to learn how to play at the division one level without fouling. And E.J. (Reed), he just got a lot of Jamal (Olasewere) in him, he plays hard but (commits) not really smart plays like going for blocks when you know you have fouls already.”

With the entire front court in foul trouble, Lamar exploited the opportunity to attack the rim and get easy baskets with nearly no resistance. It helped Lamar close the half on a 12-3 run in the final four minutes to take a 42-34 lead at the break.

Perri tried using every type of defense even going to a 1-2-2 press for a couple of defensive possessions in the first half. “We tried everything in first half and the second half and nothing was very good.” said Perri. “We work (on the press). It’s more with limited bodies, we were trying to have them use up clock, usually we try to play a little bit faster but in this case we were trying to get them to use clock and limit their time in the quarter-court for our defense.”

At the start of the second half and with LIU needing to get off to a fast start, LIU couldn’t get the ball inbounded and had to take a timeout before the half even started. Once LIU finally got the ball inbounded, they got the hot start they needed, going on a 10-2 run to tie the game up at 44 in just 3:25.

The rest of the half would be played within a ten-point window as Lamar took as much as a 5-point lead to LIU taking a five-point lead.

In the final minute after a made free throw by Lamar’s Rhon Mitchell to make it a 79-77 game, LIU would use up the entire 35-second shot clock and not get off a shot. Lamar with the ball and :12 remaining, got a layup from Nimrod Hilliard to tie the game at 78 with :05 left.

Jason Brickman got his career-high sixth double-double of the season. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Jason Brickman got his career-high sixth double-double of the season. (Photo: Bob Dea)

For the third time this season, Jason Brickman had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game. He was unsuccessful the first time versus Indiana when he took the shot himself but found success the last time when he found Gerrell Martin streaking on the wing for a game-winning layup against Norfolk State. This time Brickman saw Martin open behind the three-point line and Martin confidently buried the three-pointer to give LIU another dramatic home win. “After the shot-clock violation, after the timeout, Coach Perri told me if they score just get it out quick and try to go.” said Brickman of this game-winning possession. “They scored pretty quick so we had five or six seconds left, I just wanted to push and try to make a play and I found Gerrell wide open and he knocked down the shot.”

“Coach always preaches next play.” said Martin after the game. “I was missing a lot of shots early in the game but he told me anytime I’m open just shoot it so that just gave me the confidence that every time I get the ball, it is going to go in.”

“We were very fortunate to come up with that win.” exhaled a relived Perri after the win. “We executed offensively in the second half a lot better than in the first half. I’m disappointed with our defense, that is all we talk about it in practice. Defending and rebounding, we are not there yet.” 

E.J. Reed had a team-high 19 points in the win vs Lamar (Photo: Bob Dea)

E.J. Reed had a team-high 19 points in the win vs Lamar (Photo: Bob Dea)

The second half was different story for LIU offensively as Reed and Atterberry were able to shake off the first half foul trouble and make a much-needed contribution. Reed finished the game with a team-high 19 points and only committed one foul in the second half which was huge for Perri and the Blackbirds. Atterberry finished with a LIU career-high 17 points. Jason Brickman got his career-high sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 assists in 38 minutes. Gerrell Martin with his game-winning three put him in double figures with 12 points even though he did take nine shots.

Lamar, who fell to 1-9 with the loss, got a game-high 21 points from Nimrod Hilliard and 20 points from Rhon Mitchell. Donovan Ross finished with a double-double 15 points and 12 rebounds.

LIU was out-rebounded by 10 (41-31) and LIU gave up 14 offensive rebounds to the Cardinals. LIU scored 1.11 points per possession (82 points in 74 possessions) but once again struggled on the defensive end allowing 1.13 ppp to Lamar (79 points in 70 possessions). LIU also missed eight of their 31 free throws while Lamar missed four of their 18 free throws. LIU, thanks to the foul trouble, allowed 42 points in the paint.

With the win, LIU Brooklyn are now 4-6 as they head a few blocks over to the Barclays Center late Saturday afternoon to take on the Temple Owls who lost on Wednesday night, 90-89, to Texas Southern as TSU’s center Aaric Murray went off on the Owls for 48 points on 28 shots to get the Tigers the upset win. So once again, LIU will have to face a team from a higher conference who is coming off an upset loss in their previous game. Seton Hall was the last such game. They played LIU after losing at home to FDU the game before. This time though, LIU will be at their second home and will hopefully have a home-court advantage.

LIU will need to take every advantage they can get as it looks like LIU will once again be forced to play with just eight scholarship players on Saturday. Perri said it doesn’t look like Gilbert Parga will be ready to play by Saturday. One bit of positive injury news to report, LIU’s star forward Julian Boyd who is attempting to return to the court after tearing his ACL in his knee twice in a year, has started practicing with the team on a limited basis. He is still considered to be on pace for a January return to the court although an exact date is still unknown until he is officially cleared to play by doctors. But things are looking positive for his eventually return which would be miraculous in and of itself.


  1. The short answer is I don’t know. I think they’re thinking is to have him play this season but this injury has lingered way passed what was expected. I figure if he doesn’t start practicing very soon then there is going to be no point in playing him this season and losing a whole year of eligibility.

  2. Stu D class 68 says:

    Will Joel Hernandez play this season or was he red shirted?

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