It took three games but LIU Brooklyn for the first time this season looked like a team that most of us expected to see. A young team that features six freshmen and two sophomores and would be inconsistent as they learn to play together.
That is exactly what we saw for parts of the first half and all of the second half as the Blackbirds was throughly handled by a good and likely NCAA-tournament bound team in Stony Brook, 73-54 at Madison Square Garden in the third and final game of the 2014 NIT Season Tip-Off.
If you’re a Blackbirds fan trying to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner and ignoring NFL football while watching this one, you saw a pretty ugly game especially from LIU.
The first half didn’t display pretty basketball. After a 7-7 tie early, Stony Brook started to take control of the game with a 16-2 run and were up 23-9 to take their largest lead of the first half.
Yet, what has been an early theme for LIU through their first couple of games, the Blackbirds came storming back and got all the way to within five after a Joel Hernandez jumper at the horn made it 36-31 at the break.
The start of the second half is one LIU would love to forget. Stony Brook started the half on a 12-0 run before an Iverson Fleming running layup on the fast break finally got LIU on the board after 6:30 into the second half. LIU didn’t getting any closer than eleven points down from that point on and Stony Brook would increase their lead and win going away. Stony Brook never trailed in the game.
Stony Brook got a game-high 18 points from their big man in the middle, Jameel Warney, who scored his 1,000th career point in this one. He was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine boards. Point guard Carson Puriefoy who was hampered by foul trouble most of the game but started off on fire, finished with ten points. Roland Nyama scored 16 for the Seawolves who are now 4-2 on the season and it was easy to see why they were picked to win the America East conference this season.
LIU Brooklyn just didn’t have the shooting touch tonight. The Blackbirds shot a season-low 9.5% from three as they could hit two of twenty-one three point attempts.
One bright spot tonight was the play of the LIU bench in particularly from Joel Hernandez who led LIU Brooklyn in scoring in this one with 15 points with three rebounds. Hernandez was six of fourteen from the field and gave some life to the Blackbirds especially when they made their run late in the first half. Iverson Fleming also played well especially late in the first half as well, he finished with four points on two of three from the field.
Also, freshman Jamil Hood (5 points) looked good in his fifteen minutes of playing time and finished as team’s leading rebounder in the game with five and fellow freshman Trevon Woods got his first two points of his LIU career from the free throw line.
The rest of the team struggled in particularly the starting five. LIU starters were outscored by the LIU bench, 25 to 29.
LIU only had six turnovers after the first half but started the second half committing five turnovers within the first five minutes of the half when Stony Brook broke the game open. They finished with fourteen turnovers for the game.
Freshman Nura Zanna (2 points) was neutralized by Jameel Warney and was held to one of five shooting from the field. Landon Atterberry (8 points) had an off-night shooting especially from deep and really didn’t have a good game. He finished with eight points and just two rebounds.
The Icelandic starting duo of Friðriksson and Hermannsson, combined for just ten points on two field goals, five assists and five turnovers. For the second game in a row, Gerrell Martin didn’t have a strong game. He played just 16 minutes and scored only five points.
The smaller Blackbirds couldn’t do much in stopping a bigger Stony Brook team who dominated the glass 40 to 22 and help LIU to many one and done possessions. Stony Brook was +16 on the defensive glass alone.
All ten available LIU scholarship players scored for the first time this season. For the third consecutive game, LIU played without Glenn Feidanga, Jonathan Tshibuy and Chris Carter, all still out with injuries.
It is back to the drawing board for LIU Brooklyn as they head to Philly once again on Sunday to play Temple in their fourth and final game of their season opening road trip before finally getting to open their home schedule. Temple last season destroyed LIU Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, 101-65, in their biggest loss of the season.