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.

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