Here were a couple of hints it was going to be a long day for LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri. Landon Atterberry picked up two fouls in under three minutes. The Blackbirds at one point missed six straight free throws in the first half. The dagger, Perri had to go to walk-on forward Darien Best for the first time all season.
That is a nutshell that was how bad this went for the Blackbirds in a 101-65 loss to Temple at the Barclays Center on Saturday night to end LIU Brooklyn’s short two-game winning streak.
“We got whipped.” There was really no better way to describe how LIU played after the 36-point loss.
It was an uphill battle almost from the very start of this game. LIU once again had only eight scholarships players available as they didn’t have the services of Gilbert Parga for the second straight game with his strained achilles injury and no Chris Carter for the next few weeks with his broken foot. LIU was again left with three front court scholarship guys and right away, the problem was made ten fold when forward Landon Atterberry was hit with two personal fouls just 2:26 into the game.
“(Our forwards) didn’t necessarily listen very well. We ended up fouling way too much. That hurt us a lot.” said Perri about his depleted front court.
Landon Atterberry ended up playing just seven minutes in this game before fouling out for the first time this season. Foul-prone freshman forward Glenn Feidanga also fouled out in this game in 17 minutes. Oddly enough, E.J. Reed who led LIU in fouls coming into this game only had two fouls, both in the second half.
But Reed didn’t have a great game in this one by any means. Although he finished with a team-high tying 13 points, he was just 2 for 10 from the field and was 8 for 16 from the free throw line.
When LIU was still in the game in the first half and even having a couple of early leads, LIU would let the game get away from them by going ice cold. At one point, they missed six straight free throws as Temple began pulling away.
It got so bad for Jack Perri with his front court foul trouble after Landon Atterberry and Glenn Feidanga picked up three first half fouls each that he had no other choice but to play sophomore walk-on Darien Best for the first time this season.
Temple played stifling defense all throughout the game. They neutralized LIU’s best player Jason Brickman by taking the ball out of his hands for most of the first half. “(Temple) Coach (Fran) Dunphy did an unbelievable job defensively especially in the first half of not allowing Brickman to go do his thing. They didn’t allow him to get the ball back. That really hurt us.” said Perri.
Temple shot lights out in this game. They hit 61% of their shots from the floor and buried 15 of 27 threes in the game. Meanwhile, LIU couldn’t get any offensive flow thanks to Temple stingy defense. The Blackbirds shot a miserable 28% from the floor and were even worse from three hitting on only 5 of their 26 threes for 19%. LIU also shot a brutal 26 of 43 from the free throw line for 60%.
LIU gave up 100 points for the second time already this season. Temple hadn’t broken 100 points in nearly seven years until this game. The Owls scored 1.347 points per possessions which isn’t a worst for LIU. Sadly, it was the third time this season LIU has given up at least 1.3 ppp to the opposition, Eastern Washington and Seton Hall being the other two.
All five Temple starters finished in double figures with Dalton Pepper going for a double-double 26 points (game-high) and 10 rebounds. Will Cummings had 23 points for Temple who were looking to rebound from two straight one-point losses at home. Temple improved to 5-5.
For LIU Brooklyn, it was a game they might quickly want to burn the tape. Atterberry was the only Blackbird to shoot over 50% in the game and he was just 2 of 3 for six points. Reed and Gerrell Martin each finished with 13 points to lead LIU. Reed got his second double-double of the season (12 rebounds) in a losing cause. Troy Joseph finished with 11 points. Jason Brickman was held in check by Temple with 9 points, 6 assists and three turnovers. Iverson Fleming also finished with nine points.
LIU now enter a week-long Christmas break as they finish off the non-conference schedule with two games back down in the Lone Star State of Texas as they play Sam Houston State and Texas State next weekend before the new year ball drops.
All Jack Perri can do is hope for his guys to get healthy and back on to the court as soon as possible. Perri indicated in the postgame press conference that Gilbert Parga could be out until the start of NEC play on January 9th with his achilles injury. That would mean he will have to finish out non-conference play with these remaining eight scholarship guys. Hopefully, the reinforcements are on their way with Parga and Julian Boyd possibly returning very soon. Until then, Perri will have to hope his team can play smarter, stop fouling and begin making shots again and can find some kind of defensive strategy that works as they try to build some momentum heading into what will likely be another wild Northeast Conference season ahead.