Blackbird Gameday Report – Game 23 – (NEC Game 10) – Saint Francis Red Flash

sfuliubkOpponent: Saint Francis University Red Flash

Record: 6-16; 4-5 NEC; 2-10 on the road; Last game: Loss @ St. Francis Brooklyn, 78-52

Current KenPom Ranking: 325 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 304 – up from 305 before previous game)

Date and Time: Saturday, February 8, 4:30 PM

Location: Steinberg Wellness Center, Brooklyn, NY

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

Meeting History: 66th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads series 33-32. Last meeting: @ LIU Brooklyn, 82-62, Win, 2012-13. LIU Brooklyn has won last three meetings and 8 of the last 10.

SFU’s Players to Watch:

1. Earl Brown #15 – 6’6″ Forward – Jr. – 15.2 ppg/9.3 rpg/55.6 FG%/25.0 3FG%/33.5 mpg
2. Malik Harmon #2 – 5’11” Guard – Fr. – 8.7 ppg/3.2 apg/32.0 FG%/32.2 3FG%/30.4 mpg
3. Ben Millaud-Meunier #11 – 6’1″ Guard – So. – 8.5 ppg/34.6 FG%/36.4 3FG%/20.4 mpg

Matchup to Watch: LIU’s E.J. Reed vs SFU’s Earl Brown

Scouting the Red Flash:

SFU’s head coach Rob Krimmel is in his second year in the rebuilding process in Loretto. They have made strides this season already winning four NEC games surpassing the three NEC games they won all of last season. At 4-5 coming on, they are in a tie record-wise with another upstart in FDU for sixth place.

The Red Flash are lead by All-NEC candidate junior forward Earl Brown. He leads them in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, blocks and minutes played. He has collected nine double-doubles this season which ties him with LIU’s Jason Brickman. He is league-leading rebounding with 9.3 rebounds per game and is second in the NEC in field goal percentage (55.6%). Brown also stays out of foul trouble usually. He has fouled out just once this season and hasn’t had four fouls in a game in the past 14 games. He can also put up big offensive numbers. He has surpassed 20 points six times this season including hitting 30 or more in a game twice. He is a major interior threat who can present a problem for LIU thin interior frontline. Brown is the only SFU player scoring above 10 ppg.

Behind Brown is freshman point guard Malik Harmon who is from Queens and played high school at Christ the King High School with Fordham freshman superstar Jon Severe. Harmon will likely land on the All-NEC Rookie team at the end of the year. Harmon is second on SFU in scoring and minutes played and lead them in assists and steals. Harmon isn’t shooting the ball great in his freshman season. He is shooting just 32% from the field and from three. He has though finished in double-digits scoring eight times this season including twice going for 20 or more including 21 at Robert Morris.

Ben Millaud-Meunier is SFU’s third leading scoring primarily coming off the bench. He has taken the most three-pointers on the team this season at 118 but is hitting them at just a 36% clip. Last week, he put a season-high 22 point against FDU at home hitting 6 of 11 threes. He can be streaky. If he gets going early, LIU could be in for a long game but if misses hit first few he doesn’t tend to be a huge factor in the game. LIU will have to keep him away from open looks.

The Red Flash also have veteran players in junior guards Ollie Jackson, Dominique Major, and Stephon Whyatt. Forward Stephon Mosley has played in only eight games this season due to injury.

SFU is ninth in the NEC in offensive points per possession at 0.95 ppp. They are last in the NEC in points scored per game at 61.5 ppg. They are ninth in turnover rate and offensive rebound percentage and last in free throw shooting. They are last in tempo at 65.1 possessions per game.

Defensively, SFU is in the middle of the pack. They give up 1.08 ppp which is fourth in the NEC but are second in points allowed at 70 ppg. They are susceptible to the three-point shot (38.5%) and offensive rebounds. They are pretty good at not fouling too much and giving up free throws.

Updating the Blackbirds:

LIU now at 2-7 in the NEC have matched their worst NEC start since the 2007-08 season. In that season, LIU went 5-4 down the stretch to finish in the seven-seed in the NEC tournament. LIU will need a similar turnaround if they are reach the NEC tourney this season. They currently hold the 8th-seed by virtue of holding the tiebreaker at the moment over CCSU.

E.J. Reed has now overtaken Landon Atterberry as LIU’s leading scorer with his 12.1 ppg average. Reed over LIU’s last four games is averaging 17 ppg.

Troy Joseph is currently on a three-game double-digit scoring streak. Joseph is averaging 13.6 ppg during this span. He is shooting 48% from the field during these last three games.

Iverson Fleming will likely get the start in place of the injured Gerrell Martin once again. It will be his fourth start of the season. In his three starts this season, Fleming is only averaging 3 ppg in over 19 minutes per game.

With 10 more assists, Jason Brickman (941 career assists) will pass Notre Dame/Oklahoma State’s Doug Gottlieb (947) and Portland/UNLV’s and former New York Knick Greg Anthony (950) and enter the top ten in the NCAA career assist list and be in 9th place on the list.

LIU is 3-3 this season at the Steinberg Wellness Center. The three losses surpasses the loss total they had at the SWC all of last season. LIU has not lost three games at the SWC in one season since the 2009-10 season.

Injury Updates:

Gerrell Martin will miss his second straight game with a strained shoulder he hurt in practice on Tuesday. It is hopeful he’ll be back for the Sacred Heart game on Thursday. Gilbert Parga will miss his sixth consecutive game with a strained achilles but he is also hoping to return back next Thursday against Sacred Heart as well.

Keys to Victory for LIU:

– Get a inside-outside game going: LIU needs to get points in the paint inside by either Reed and/or Atterberry and get some outside scoring from Brickman and/or Joseph. Need to get the offense clicking once again.

–  Keep Brown away: Earl Brown will look to dominant the interior on both ends and do some damage on the glass and on second chances. The LIU front line will need to know where he is in the paint and box him out.

– Get a lead: It feels like forever since LIU had a lead and kept it for a long period of time. It would be nice to see LIU once they get the lead, hold it and keep it all the way to the end.

KenPom Score Projection: 73-67 LIU Brooklyn (LIU Win Probability: 74%) First game since the CCSU game on January 18th in which KenPom has LIU favored to win. 

Next up for the Blackbirds:

LIU Brooklyn heads to Fairfield, Connecticut in important game against Sacred Heart at the Pitt Center on Thursday, February 13. Tip off is schedule for 7:00 pm. Game can be seen on NEC Front Row.

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