Blackbird Gameday Report – Game 21 – (NEC Game 8) – Mount St. Mary’s

MSMLIUOpponent: Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

Record: 8-12; 4-3 NEC; 6-2 at home; Last game: Win vs FDU, 87-82 (OT)

Current KenPom Ranking: 244 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 308 – down from 304 before previous game)

Date and Time: Saturday, February 1, 2:30 PM

Location: Knott Arena, Emmitsburg, MD

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: Web: NEC Front Row

Meeting History: 51st all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 27-23. Last meeting: @ LIU Brooklyn, 75-71, win back on January 25th.

Mount St. Mary’s Players to Watch:

1. Julian Norfleet #23 – 6’2″ Guard – Sr. – 18.6 ppg/5.8 apg/2.9 rpg/47.2 FG%/35.1 3FG%/33.7 mpg
2. Rashad Whack #22 – 6’3″ Guard – Sr. – 16.2 ppg/4.3 rpg/40.9 FG%/34.1 3FG%/31.7 mpg
3. Sam Prescott #3 – 6’3″ Guard – Sr. – 10.7 ppg/4.7 rpg/39.5 FG%/34.6 3FG%/29.6 mpg

Matchup to Watch: MSM’s Julian Norfleet vs LIU’s Jason Brickman

Scouting the Mountaineers:

This is the second meeting between the two teams in a span of a week. Last week, LIU Brooklyn beat the Mount at the Steinberg Wellness Center, this time they face each other at Mount’s Knott Arena where the Mountaineers are 6-2 this season including a come-from-behind overtime win against FDU on Thursday night.

The Mount are currently 4-3 in the NEC and are in a four-way tied from third place. Three of their four conference wins have come at home.

Senior point guard Julian Norfleet returned to his All-NEC form in their last game against FDU with 17 points and 11 assists. He had scored just 12 total points in his previous two games including just eight points against LIU last Saturday. Norfleet will likely look to get going much earlier against LIU this time around. He made a pair of late threes against LIU with the game relatively in hand last week.

Senior Rashad Whack is coming off a strong game against FDU. He finished with a double-double 23 points and 10 rebounds and was 8 for 15 from the field. Like Norfleet, he had been held in check in the Mount’s last two games scoring a combined 16 points. He scored 7 points against LIU last Saturday as he struggled shooting as well going 3 for 10.

Senior Sam Prescott had a quiet game against FDU Thursday until the last 5:05 of the games where he scored the game tying basket that sent the game into overtime and then took over in overtime with five points, two rebounds, and an assist to give the Mount the win. Prescott also struggled shooting last Saturday against LIU with 4 for 14 shooting from the field. He finished with 14 points before fouling out.

The player LIU has to watch out for who had a nice game against them was freshman Byron Ashe off the bench. He scored a career-high 18 points and knocked in five three-pointers in the game last Saturday. Ashe played 35 minutes and scored 11 points in the win Thursday night vs FDU. Also seven-footer Taylor Danaher scored a career-high 13 points against LIU last week. He fouled out vs FDU Thursday scoring eight points. Gregory Graves grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds against LIU last time out.

The Mount have scored at least 87 points in all their conference wins at home this season.

Updating the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn is coming off their second loss to Wagner this season and at 2-5 are back in desperation mode as they sit currently in the eighth and final NEC playoff spot in the standings as the conference season approaches the halfway point.

E.J. Reed is coming off a strong performance with 18 points but he did foul out for the sixth time this season in just 25 minutes. Reed is averaging 16 ppg in his last two games and shot the ball at a 59% clip.

Point guard Jason Brickman tallied 13 more assists on Thursday to his career total and is now 82 assist away from 1000 career assists. Brickman also committed seven turnovers against Wagner which was his second-highest turnover game of the season (nine at Sam Houston State). Brickman snapped a three-game double-digit scoring streak with just five points on Thursday night.

LIU has only held one team in league play (CCSU) so far this season to under 1.0 points per possession on defense. LIU has allowed the last three opponents to have an effective field goal percentage over 50%.

Gilbert Parga is scheduled to get an MRI early next week to get an update on his injured achilles. He has now missed the last three games and has played just four total minutes since January 16th. Parga has now missed eight of the twenty LIU games this season due to injuries.

Gerrell Martin’s shooting has dipped under 40% from the floor and beyond the arc this season. He has gone 5 for 14 shooting in his last two games.

Keys to Victory for LIU:

– Get at the shooters: The Mount loves the three-point shot. They took 32 of them in the last meeting last Saturday. They hit ten. They don’t mind living and dying with the three. LIU needs to force them into tough looks and not allow them to get easy, open looks at the rim.

– Attack the paint: LIU scored 44 of their 75 points in their last meeting in the paint. LIU front court for once has the size advantage inside. They will need to take advantage inside once again and get some easy buckets.

– Keep it clean: LIU needs to get back to protect the rock and cutting back on the turnovers. The Mount as they are known to do will press full court, it will be up to the guards, mainly Jason Brickman to cut down on the turnovers and keep the Mount from getting on the fast break off of turnovers. LIU held the Mount in check in fast break points last Saturday with just four.

KenPom Score Projection: 89-79 Mount St. Mary’s (LIU Win Probability: 20%)

Next up for the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn returns back to Brooklyn for another two-game home stand and it begins with a rematch of the 2011 and 2012 NEC Championship games against the Robert Morris Colonials on Thursday, February 6th in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. It is a “Blackout” game. All fans and students attending are asked to wear black to the game and be very loud against what could be an undefeated RMU squad. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Wagner sweep season series from LIU Brooklyn for second year straight

Wagner beats LIU Brooklyn for the second time this season sweeping the season series. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Wagner beats LIU Brooklyn for the second time this season sweeping the season series. (Photo: Bob Dea)

The hole was dug a little bit deeper for the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds Thursday night after losing for the second time this season to the Wagner Seahawks in a 75-68 loss. The loss puts LIU Brooklyn at 2-5 and has them in the eighth and final NEC Tournament spot in the standings.

The Blackbirds just couldn’t put together a string of stops on Wagner, who with the win improve to 4-3 in the conference, especially in the second half when LIU got as close as four on a couple of occasions before Wagner spread the lead back out to a comfortable margin.

“We were not sharp. It is not a great matchup for us.” said LIU head coach Jack Perri after the loss. “They had the ability to bother Jason (Brickman) and they did.”

Wagner forced LIU point guard Jason Brickman into seven turnovers to go along with his 13 assists. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Wagner forced LIU point guard Jason Brickman into seven turnovers to go along with his 13 assists. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Wagner in the past has given LIU’s point guard Jason Brickman a tough time and this game was no exception. In this game, although Brickman was able to dish out 13 assists to teammates, he also committed seven turnovers. In two games against Wagner this season, Brickman committed 13 turnovers while facing the two-time NEC Defensive Player of the Year in Wagner point guard Kenneth Ortiz. LIU as a whole gave the ball away 15 times in this game.

Wagner head coach Bashir Mason broke down the defensive strategy against the nation’s leading assist man. “One of our biggest things we talk about with (Brickman) is active hands.” said Mason. “When he’s in the paint, you can’t step up like the Statue of Liberty and allow him to see. As he is penetrating at you, you have to have active hands and one he is a pass-first guard. If he is jumping in the air, don’t jump until he releases the ball. I think my guys did a good job of getting hands on ball with him and just having active hands.”

The Seahawks finished with four players in double figures led by All-NEC performer Latif Rivers who scored a team-high 18 points on 12 field goal attempts. Wagner’s two forwards, Mario Moody and Orlando Parker each finished with 14 points a piece. Jay Harris in his return after missing Wagner’s last game versus Robert Morris with a head injury, scored 10 points including hitting a pair of three-pointers late in the game, the second of which put Wagner up by 13 with under four minutes to play that put the final nail in the LIU coffin.

Wagner shot the ball extremely well all game long and finished the game shooting just under 51% from the field. Wagner managed to score 1.12 points per possessions (75 pts/67 poss). They also outscored LIU 34-26 in the paint thanks to the performance of Moody and Parker.

It was obvious during the two games this season against Wagner, LIU had a problem matching up with their level of athleticism. “They are by far the most athletic team in the league and that absolutely bothers us and bothered Jason a little bit.” said Perri.

E.J. Reed finished with a team-high 18 points for the Blackbirds. (Photo: Bob Dea)

E.J. Reed finished with a team-high 18 points for the Blackbirds. (Photo: Bob Dea)

LIU got a game-high 18 points from sophomore E.J. Reed before fouling out for the sixth time this season. He now has scored at least 14 points in each of the last four games. Reed shot 7 of 9 from the floor although he was 3 of 7 from the charity stripe. Only he and Glenn Feidanga (2-3 from the field) shot above 50% from the floor in this game as LIU as a whole shot just 41% from the field although they shot the ball well from three going 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.

Troy Joseph finished with 12 points but was just 2 of 6 from the floor. Gerrell Martin scored 11 points but he was just 4 of 10 from the field. Landon Atterberry snapped his two-game double figure scoring streak with his 9 points on 4 of 10 shooting. Jason Brickman scored just 5 points on eight shots. The LIU bench was outscored by Wagner 30 to 13. Wagner also got seven blocks, five of those by the NEC’s leading shot blocker in Naofall Folahan. LIU finished with 0.98 points per possessions (68 pts/70 poss).

The Blackbirds are back in dire mode as they cling to that final NEC playoff spot and now have to travel back on the road to face a Mount St. Mary’s squad who LIU beat just last Saturday but are a much better home team than they are away from home. The Mount tonight came back and beat a good FDU team at home 87-82 in overtime. LIU played probably their best conference game so far against the Mount and they are going to need a similar performance on Saturday once again to avoid getting themselves in the NEC drop zone and out of the NEC Tournament picture. Right now, they are just a game in front of Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart although LIU for now has the tiebreaker over CCSU with their win over them.

They got to find some wins coming up which is not going to be easily given their opponents the next two games but things need to start turning around now. They are near halfway through the conference season and they are far from where they want to be which is a team hoping to compete for a NEC title. Right now, they got to just worry about just getting themselves involved in the playoff picture and they got to do that by playing better and getting a couple of upsets from here on out.

Blackbird Gameday Report – Game 20 – (NEC Game 7) – Wagner Seahawks

WagnerLIUBKOpponent: Wagner Seahawks

Record: 9-10; 3-3 NEC; 5-6 on road; Last game: Loss at Robert Morris, 74-70

Current KenPom Ranking: 227 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 304 – unchanged from before previous game)

Date and Time: Thursday, January 30, 7:00 PM

Location: Steinberg Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: Web: NEC Front Row / Radio: Red Zone Media

Meeting History: 97th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 55-41. Last meeting: @ Wagner, 84-70, loss back on January 11th.

Wagner’s Players to Watch:

1. Kenneth Ortiz #15 – 6’0″ Guard – Sr. – 12.3 ppg/4.1 rpg/4.3 apg/38.5 FG%/30.8 mpg
2. Latif Rivers #24 – 6’1″ Guard – Sr. – 14.4 ppg/2.9 rpg/47.7 FG%/38.1 3FG%/27.2 mpg
3. Mario Moody #3 – 6’7″ Forward – Jr. – 9.5 ppg/6.7 rpg/43.8 FG%/33.3 3FG%/23.9 mpg

Matchup to Watch: Wagner’s Mario Moody vs LIU’s front court

Scouting the Seahawks:

This is the second meeting of the season between LIU Brooklyn and the Wagner Seahawks. Wagner defeated the Blackbirds in their earlier meeting 84-70 at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island back on January 11th.

Wagner is currently 3-3 in the NEC after getting off to a 2-0 start. Last weekend, the Seahawks lost both games they played, first inexplicably losing at home to what was an 0-4 Central Connecticut team and then battling an eight-man Robert Morris team on the road before losing to them.

The Seahawks has been a inconsistent team all season long. Once you think this team is about to turn the corner and rattle off several wins in a row, they lose a game they probably should have won.

The Wagner offense in three of their last four games has failed to reach 1.0 points per possession while they have given up over a 1.0 ppp on the defensive end. The Seahawks are just below LIU in scoring offense in 5th place in the NEC at 71.6 ppg. On defense, they are still third in the NEC in points allowed at 72.4 ppg. Teams score exactly 1.0 ppp against them on the offensive end.

In the last meeting, it was junior forward Mario Moody who has a great game against LIU. He finished with a double-double, 19 points and 10 rebounds. With the expection of the St. Francis University game where he went scoreless, he is averaging 16 ppg and shooting 20 for 32 (62.5%) since LIU last saw him. Moody has come off the bench in the last two games in favor of Orlando Parker.

Latif Rivers is still the scoring leader of this team at 14.4 ppg. Since the eight-point in 14 minutes outing he had against LIU, he has averaged 15.7 ppg in the last four games. He is coming off a 19-point performance at Robert Morris last Saturday.

Senior point guard Kenneth Ortiz has seen his scoring go down in NEC play. He has scored in double figures just once in January. He is shooting just 27% in conference games this season. He is though averaging 6 apg in conference.

Junior guard Marcus Burton has emerged as Wagner’s third leading scorer behind Rivers and Ortiz. He just had a string of six straight games of scoring at least 13 points snapped at Robert Morris where he only scored six. Burton is a three-point threat as many of the Wagner players are. Last time out against LIU, he dropped in 17 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.

Jay Harris is expected to be back in the Wagner lineup after missing the RMU game with what sounded like an apparent concussion he suffered in the second half of the game against CCSU last week. Harris has also been coming off the bench of late in favor of high-flying sophomore Dwaun Anderson. Anderson is coming off a scoreless game in 32 minutes played against RMU. Anderson though did score 12 points against LIU last time these two teams meet including what ended up as SportsCenter number one play in their top ten plays with this ridiculous dunk off the backboard pass. Anderson though is averaging just 5.2 ppg over his last four games.

Wagner is in midst of an important three-game road trip for them with the visit to RMU last week, this game against LIU and their next game at St. Francis Brooklyn. After this trip, they play six of their next eight games at home including their last five games.

Updating the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn is coming off a win at home on Saturday against Mount St. Mary’s which pushed their NEC record to 2-4. LIU is the middle of playing four of five at home at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

Jason Brickman is now entering the final phase in his chase to 1000 career assists as he has passed 900 assists against Mount St. Mary’s and is currently at 905. If he stays at his current average, he will get to the magical 1000 mark in LIU’s final regular season game at home versus Bryant. He is now LIU’s second leading scorer behind Landon Atterberry at 11.9 ppg. He is averaging 14.3 ppg over his last four games and is currently on a two-game double-double streak and has eight double-double overall this season.

The LIU front court trio of Landon Atterberry, E.J. Reed and Glenn Feidanga has started to pick it up of late. It correlates with this trio staying out of foul trouble. Only Reed has reach four fouls in a game in the last four games and that has happened just once. LIU has pretty much now adapted a zone defense to combat the foul issues with their front court guys and keep them around in games. The zone defense is beginning to gel and things are slowing improving on the defensive end. This will need to continue over the next ten games if LIU wants a chance still to get a home game in the NEC tournament.

Feidanga this week was named NEC Rookie of the Week after a fantastic week where he averaged 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two games last week. He got his first collegiate double-double against Mount St. Mary’s with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The status of Gilbert Parga is still up in the air. He has missed LIU’s last two games and really shouldn’t have played in the previous two games with his strained achilles injury that hampered him since he first injured back on December 12th against NJIT. Parga was seen wearing a walking boot last week. It is probably likely we won’t be playing in any games for at least a couple of more weeks. Chris Carter is about six weeks into his recovery of his broken foot. He probably won’t return to the court to at least mid-February.

Keys to Victory for LIU:

– Keep the momentum going: The zone defense needs to continue playing solidly. Wagner has a multitude of shooters who will look to exploit that zone for easy three-point looks. The Blackbirds will need to move their feet defensively and be active.

– Clean the glass: Last time out Wagner grabbed 17 offensive rebounds against LIU. They need to prevent Wagner for getting to many second opportunities.

– Use Wagner aggressiveness against them: Wagner like to put pressure defensively but are susceptible to fouling. LIU need to stay aggressive on the offensive end and get them in foul trouble and get to the free throw line.

KenPom Score Projection: 76-75 Wagner (LIU Win Probability: 47%)

Next up for the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn heads back on the road as they head to Emmitsburg, PA to once again face Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday, February 1 at 2:30pm.

Glenn Feidanga earns Co-Rookie of the Week honors

Glenn Feidanga become second LIU Brooklyn freshman this season to be named NEC Rookie of the Week. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Glenn Feidanga become second LIU Brooklyn freshman this season to be named NEC Rookie of the Week. (Photo: Bob Dea)

For the second time this season, an LIU Brooklyn Blackbird has earned the Choice Hotels/NEC Rookie of the Week honors. LIU’s Glenn Feidanga with a breakout week was named on Monday co-Rookie of the Week along with CCSU’s Matt Mobley.

Feidanga had a pair of breakthrough performances in 1-1 week for LIU. At Bryant, he had an eye-opening first half of 8 points and 8 rebounds and finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to the Bulldogs. Two days later at home at the Steinberg Wellness Center against Mount St. Mary’s, Feidanga set new career-highs in points and rebounds with 15 points and 11 rebounds to collect his first career double-double in the LIU win.

Feidanga averaged 11.5 points and 10.5 rebounds over the two games and he did it while playing just 40 total minutes. He now has lifted his season averages to 4.2 ppg and 4.0 rpg. He is the second LIU player to receive the honor this season. Iverson Fleming was named NEC Rookie of the Week back on December 16th after his 22 point outburst at NJIT on December 12th.

Congratulations to Glenn Feidanga on earning the honor.

LIU Brooklyn gets much needed win vs Mount St. Mary’s

The time is now for the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds. At 1-4 in the NEC entering Saturday’s matchup against the team they defeated in last season’s NEC Championship game in Mount St. Mary’s, LIU needed a win in the worst way. With good defense, solid shooting and a pair of double-doubles for two Blackbirds, one from a player everyone excepts and another from a player probably no one excepted it from, LIU got a huge home win beating the Mount 75-71 at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

The Blackbirds had five players finish in double-digits in what was a balanced scoring attack. Once again, just like in the previous game against Bryant, it seemed like everyone was involved with all but one players scoring at least one basket. Head coach Jack Perri was just happy to get back on the winning end, “It feels good to get a win. I think we got some good all-around performances from a multitude of guys.”

Yet, it was two players who really stepped their game up. Senior Jason Brickman was his usually double-double self with 14 points and 12 assists but once again the surprise player was freshman Glenn Feidanga who this week has been seemingly been transformed to a big-time presence down low and on the glass. Feidanga finished with his first career double-double with career-highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Feidanga had himself quite a week and likely earned himself an NEC Rookie of the Week honor coming Monday. Feidanga in the two games this week scored 23 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in 40 minutes played while shooting 11 for 12 from the field while also keeping his fouls in relative check. “The big thing with Glenn is he is healthy now.” said Perri. “He has been in treatment (with) his shoulder, his knee, his foot since September. Now he is out (of treatment). He doesn’t see the trainer anymore and he has done a great job the last two games and hopefully he can continue that.”

Feidanga has noticed the difference in his game as he has gotten confidence and has gotten healthy. “It shows that my hard work pays off.” said Feidanga. “Before practice, after practice, the coaches take me aside and work out with me. Also, the bigger thing is when I came I was banged up with some injuries and now my body feel good.” His comfort level with his teammates and the college game has definitely grown since the start of the season. “I’ve started feeling more comfortable on the court. I get tips from Jason (Brickman) to give me those passes and make layups.”

Speaking of Brickman, he passed another milestone on Saturday, becoming just the 14th player in NCAA Division I history to have 900 assists for his career. He now has 905 assists to his name. His also collected his eighth double-double of the season and his second in consecutive games. Brickman started the game turning the ball over due to the Mount’s trapping and press. “After I stopped turning it over and starting figuring out their press and they’re running guys at me. Once I calmed down, I made the simple passes and we were able to get some easy layups.” said Brickman. “In the second half, it started getting close. I wanted to be more aggressive and try and get to the line. We were getting into the one-and-one so I wanted to be aggressive and get to the basket.”

Also defensive, things have started to take a bit of positive turn over the last couple of games. They played a solid defensive first half against Bryant on Thursday and followed it up with a another good defensive effort that carried through most of this game. LIU, by shear necessity, have been utilizing the zone more and more and the results are starting to show. “Our guys are starting to buy into this defense a little bit.” said Perri. Even though some late three pointers by Mount got them above the 1.0 point per possession threshold at 1.026 ppp, the LIU defense has finally started to pick itself up. The Mount shot just 38% from the field and shot just 28% in the first half.

For the Mount, freshman Bryon Ashe lead them with a game-high 18 points. The impressive-looking frosh hit five three-pointers off the bench. Sam Prescott finished with 14 points on 14 shot attempts. Taylor Danaher scored 13. Gregory Graves just missed a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds. Julian Norfleet who coming in was third in the NEC in scoring was held to just 8 points and 6 of those came in two desperation threes very late with the game pretty much in hand. The Mount fall to 3-3 in the NEC.

Besides Feidanga and Brickman efforts, the entire LIU front court played an excellent game. E.J. Reed finished with 12 points and Landon Atterberry dropped in 10 for the Blackbirds. D.J. Griggs continues to impress and provide much needed scoring off the bench with Gilbert Parga once again out with his achilles injury. Griggs finished with 10 points.

The win puts LIU at 2-4 in the NEC and puts hope back into the minds of the Blackbirds and their fans. They have another big test coming into the Steinberg Wellness Center on Thursday in Wagner who beat the Blackbirds during opening weekend. The goal for LIU is to get back to .500 in the NEC and go from there. This win stabilized them and got them pointed back in the right direction but they need to build on this win and continue the solid play of this week into next week and getting a winning streak going. You see this team is starting to believe and buy in to what Perri and his staff is teaching them. They need to keep this momentum going. Right now, this is just the beginning.

Blackbird Gameday Report – Game 19 – (NEC Game 6) – Mount St. Mary’s

MSMLIUOpponent: Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers

Record: 7-11; 3-2 NEC; 2-9 on road; Last game: Win at Saint Francis U., 83-77

Current KenPom Ranking: 240 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 304 – up from 306 before previous game)

Date and Time: Saturday, January 25, 4:30 PM

Location: Steinberg Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY

TV/Web/Radio Coverage: Web: NEC Front Row / Radio: Red Zone Media

Meeting History: 50th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 26-23 Last meeting: @ LIU Brooklyn, 91-70, Win, 2013 NEC Tournament Final. LIU Brooklyn has won seven of the last eight meetings. Last season, LIU’s streak of six straight wins in the series was snapped.

Mount St. Mary’s Players to Watch:

1. Julian Norfleet #23 – 6’2″ Guard – Sr. – 19.2 ppg/5.5 apg/3.0 rpg/48.2 FG%/36.5 3FG%/33.4 mpg
2. Rashad Whack #22 – 6’3″ Guard – Sr. – 16.4 ppg/4.1 rpg/40.5 FG%/33.6 3FG%/31.8 mpg
3. Sam Prescott #3 – 6’3″ Guard – Sr. – 10.6 ppg/4.7 rpg/40.0 FG%/34.3 3FG%/29.9 mpg

Matchup to Watch: MSM’s Julian Norfleet vs LIU’s Jason Brickman

Scouting the Mountaineers:

Mount St. Mary’s and second-year head coach Jamion Christian brings his senior-laden Mountaineers back to Downtown Brooklyn for the first time since LIU Brooklyn defeated them in the NEC Final back at the Wellness Center last March.

The Mount comes in with a 3-2 NEC record with wins over St. Francis Brooklyn (home), Wagner (home), and Saint Francis University (PA) (road) and losses to FDU (road) and Robert Morris (road). Their record overall is 7-11 after playing a rather tough non-conference schedule with games at West Virginia, Villanova, BYU, Michigan State, Penn State, and Texas Tech. Take those six games out of the equation and the Mount is 7-5.

Jamion Christian brings back all three of his top scorers from last season who are all seniors this season. This team revolves point guard Julian Norfleet who is having a NEC Player of the Year caliber season. Norfleet is averaging 19.2 ppg which is ranked third in the NEC. He had scored in double figures in every game this season until his last game against Saint Francis U. where he scored a season-low four points. Norfleet is also ranked in the top ten in the NEC in assists (5.5 – tied for 3rd), steals (1.8 – 2nd), FG% (48.2% – 9th), and minutes played (33.4 – 6th). Norfleet will typically take a lot of shots. He has taken 14 or more shots in a game in ten times this season.

Also back is last season’s leading scorer for the Mount in Rashad Whack. He is currently sixth in the NEC in scoring at 16.4 ppg. He just snapped a 16-game streak where he reached double figures scoring after scoring just 9 points his last time out against SFU. Whack leads the team in three-point shot attempts with 116. His three-point shooting percentage is slightly down at 33.6% but he has made at least one three in every game he’s played this season. He is also third in the NEC in steals at 1.6 spg and rebounds the ball well at 4.6 rpg for a 6’3″ guard.

The third returning senior is Sam Prescott who is starting to pick up his scoring in conference play. Prescott is averaging 10.6 which is right on his career average. Over the last two NEC games, he has scored 41 points including a season-high 25 to lead the Mount against SFU on Thursday. He is another three-point threat with 70 three-point attempts and hitting them at a 34% clip. He also rebounds the ball well for a guard at nearly 5 rebounds a game.

Other contributors to the Mount this season are 7’0″ sophomore center Taylor Danaher who has started the last 11 games for Mount St. Mary’s. He also is first on the team in rebounds with 4.8 rpg. Sophomore Gregory Graves has scored in double figures three times this season and is coming off a career-high 17 points in the win versus SFU on Saturday. Freshman Bryon Ashe is currently their top scoring coming off the bench at 7.4 ppg. He will also hoist up the threes with his 63 attempts. Freshman forward Will Miller doesn’t play a ton of minutes but two games this season where he has dropped 15 points so he can’t be taken lightly.

Mount St. Mary’s is currently second in the NEC in scoring offense at 75.4 ppg and are third in offensive points per possession at 1.04. They average 71.4 possessions per game. They shoot an NEC second-best effective field goal percentage of 51.4%. They are also the best in the NEC in turnovers at 10.1 per game. Defensively, the Mount allows the most points of any NEC team at 82.1 ppg. They also allow 1.13 points per possession, only LIU Brooklyn and FDU are worse. Teams shoot an effective field goal percentage of 51.4% against them, the worst in the NEC.

Updating the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn fell to 1-4 in the NEC after a 87-79 loss at Bryant Thursday night. LIU is now 1-4 for the first time in NEC play since the 2005-06 season where they started 1-5 and ended up 9-9 in the NEC.

LIU will play four of their next five games at the Steinberg Wellness Center. They are 2-1 at the SWC this season, losing their last game there to FDU on January 16th.

Senior point guard Jason Brickman needs just 7 more assists to hit the 900-assist club. He would become just the 14th player in NCAA Division I history to reach the milestone. With 10 more assists, he would pass San Francisco’s Orlando Smart (902 assists) to be 13th on the NCAA all-time career assists list. Brickman got his first double-double (15 points/13 assists) since December 28th at Sam Houston State in the loss at Bryant Thursday night. He now has seven double-doubles and is still a full two assists per game ahead as the nation’s leading assist leader at 9.7 apg. His scoring has picked up of late with a 14.5 ppg average in his last two games.

Landon Atterberry snapped out of scoring funk with 18 points against Bryant. It was his first double-digit game since scoring 19 at St. Francis Brooklyn January 16th. He was a perfect 7 for 7 on two-point shots Thursday night.

Gerrell Martin looks to be back on the track after being slowed by a sprained ankle a couple of weeks ago. He has 30 total points in his last two games and scored 17 at Bryant shooting just under 40% from the field.

E.J. Reed and Troy Joseph’s scoring slumps continues. Reed scored just 5 points in 21 minutes due to foul trouble once again. Reed shot 1 for 7 against Bryant and is just 11 for 38 in NEC play so far. He desperately needs to get going offensively. Joseph’s three-point shooting percentage is down to 32.1% after back-to-back 1 for 6 three-point shooting games.

Gilbert Parga didn’t dress Thursday night against Bryant. That is now six games missed this season due to multiple injuries. Add on the two games he played a combined four minutes plus the half of basketball he didn’t play when he got hurt at NJIT, he has really played 9.5 games this season. It will once again likely be another game-time decision if he plays this game.

D.J. Griggs and Glenn Feidanga played well off the bench against Bryant. Griggs is averaging 6.2 ppg in NEC play while Feidanga is coming off one of his best games of the season with 8 points and a career-high 10 rebounds against Bryant.

Keys to Victory for LIU:

– Contain the Mount’s Big 3: That is easier said then done. Bryant’s Big 3 scored 60 of their 87 points Thursday night. Two of them went for at least 23 points. LIU can’t allow this trio to do the same or else they are will see a similar result.

– Play a full 40 minutes: LIU played a great 25 minutes against Bryant but a not-so-good final 15 minutes. They need to put together a complete game from start to finish to win this game.

– Don’t settle for the three: LIU shot 34 threes at Bryant Thursday night, 20 of them in the second half. They settled for too many three in the second half and went cold which gave Bryant momentum in their comeback. LIU needs to try and get themselves to the free throw line more and drive to the rim and don’t rely on the three-ball so much.

– Home Support: The LIU student body is back so they need to start getting back a raucous home crowd as a sixth-man. During the last home game vs FDU, the lack of student noise was noticeable and LIU needs to regain that home swagger they have had over the last several seasons.

KenPom Score Projection: 87-86 Mount St. Mary’s (LIU Win Probability: 48%)

Next up for the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn plays the second game of this two-game homestand as they play the return game against the Wagner Seahawks at the Steinberg Wellness Center on Thursday, January 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Second half outburst by Bryant puts off LIU Brooklyn’s upset bid

For twenty minutes, LIU Brooklyn played their best half of basketball so far through the first five NEC games. The Blackbirds put up 42 first half points and looked primed to get a mega upset win on the road against the 3-1 Bryant Bulldogs. Unfortunately for LIU, Bryant showed why they are considered a contender to hoist up the championship trophy in March as the Bulldogs put up 55 second half on the Blackbirds and ruined LIU’s upset bid, defeating them 87-79.

Bryant’s big three of Alex Francis, Corey Maynard and Alex Francis showed their worth in the second half pumping in 40 of those 55 points to bring Bryant back from a 42-32 halftime deficit.

The first half, LIU could do little wrong. They held Bryant to just 32 points. They committed just one turnover in the first half and was getting balanced scoring from the entire team. Seven of eight LIU players scoring at least one basket in the first half.

Glenn Feidanga had a great first half for LIU with 8 points and 8 rebounds. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Glenn Feidanga had a great first half for LIU with 8 points and 8 rebounds. (Photo: Bob Dea)

The surprise player for LIU was freshman forward Glenn Feidanga. He had the best half of basketball of his young LIU career. He scored 8 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the first twenty minutes. He was one of the main reasons LIU got up ten in the opening half. Landon Atterberry also stepped up with 10 points at the half while Jason Brickman was on his way to another double-double with 7 points and 5 assists.

The second half though was a different story for LIU. The Blackbirds once again started the half off strong and kept up with Bryant’s high-octane offense that was starting to hit shots. With LIU up 51-42, Bryant went on a 11-0 run to switch the momentum to their end and take their first lead of the game since it was 11-10 in the first half. Starks and Francis as you would expect were the catalyst but Bryant also got a great game from sophomore Curtis Oakley who was also getting into the shooting party knocking down killer threes for the Bulldogs.

LIU would hang tough and tie the game up at 60 but LIU wouldn’t get any closer than that as Bryant began pulling away. A 16-6 run would give Bryant a ten-point cushion at 76-66 which would be enough to hold off a LIU last-ditch comeback attempt.

Bryant shot over 56% in the second half and finished just under 50% from the field in the game. They shot 60% (6-10) from three in the second half. Francis, Maynard, Starks and Joe O’Shea played all twenty minutes of the second half.

Alex Francis led Bryant with a game-high 24 points (15 second half points) and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Dyami Starks scored 23 (15 second half points) including 6 of 9 shooting in the second half. Corey Maynard finished with 13 (10 second half points), nine assists, six rebounds and committed just one turnover. Joe O’ Shea scored 11 points. These four guys played at least 38 minutes each with Francis playing all 40 minutes.

The Bulldogs scored 1.227 points per possession (87 points/71 possessions) and out-rebounded LIU 27-24. Bryant is now 4-1 to start their NEC season.

Jason Brickman finished with 15 points and 13 assists for his tenth double-double. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Jason Brickman finished with 15 points and 13 assists for his tenth double-double. (Photo: Bob Dea)

For the Blackbirds, Landon Atterberry led them in scoring with 18 points, his first double-digit scoring game in the last four games. He was a perfect 7 for 7 inside the arc but 1 for 4 from beyond it. Gerrell Martin finished with 17 but was just 6 for 16 from the field. He was just 1 for 4 from inside the arc. Jason Brickman did all he could, he finished with his 10th double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 assists with just three turnovers.

Troy Joseph struggle shooting, scoring just five points in 27 minutes on 2 for 8 shooting including 1 of 6 from three. E.J. Reed continues to struggle offensively, he also finished with just five points on 1 of 7 shooting and 0 of 3 from deep. Reed has scored nine total points in his last two games.

Off the bench, LIU got solid production from Feidanga who finished with 8 points and a career-high ten rebounds. D.J. Griggs continues his solid play of late with 9 points on 4 of 6 shooting.

The Blackbirds were able to shoot 47% from the field but they struggle in particularly in the first half from three and finished 11 for 34 from three. At times especially during Bryant’s second half run, LIU settled for too many threes and went cold and let Bryant got on their run and take the momentum away from them. LIU scored 1.133 points per possession (79 points/70 possessions).

LIU complete their four games in five games away from Brooklyn with a 1-4 record. The Blackbirds now have a chance to get back in it with the next four out of five games at the friendly confines of the Steinberg Wellness Center. LIU needs to feasting off the home-cooking because there is a log jam in the NEC standings. LIU now shares a 1-4 record with three other teams and there are four teams at 3-2, two games ahead of LIU. LIU does face some difficult competition in Mount St. Mary’s, Wagner, at Mount St. Mary’s and Robert Morris in their next four games but three of those four are at home and LIU need to get some wins in these upcoming games if they plan on making some headway in the NEC standings.

The LIU Brooklyn student body is now back and they need to be out in full force at these games starting on Saturday and going forward this season. The Blackbirds with a strong crowd support could get themselves back in it in the NEC and that needs to start by winning at home. The time is now for LIU Brooklyn. They can’t afford now to get any further behind.