When there is a young team like LIU Brooklyn has this season, no lead is safe.
That was the case on Monday as LIU Brooklyn gave up an early 15-point lead and went down as much as five in the second half to New Hampshire before taking the game into overtime and getting a Martin Hermannsson layup with six seconds remaining to take home their fourth straight victory to win 73-72 at Lundholm Gym.
LIU’s Iceland duo of Elvar Friðriksson and Martin Hermannsson, at different points carried their team offensively. Friðriksson was an unstoppable force in the first half while Hermannsson came on in the second. The duo combined for 34 of LIU’s 73 points. Friðriksson finished with 19 points while Hermannsson finished with 15. The pair played a combined 81 minutes.
LIU got off to a fast start and was ahead 27-12 with 8:33 to go in the first half. Friðriksson was making everything, the LIU defense was making life difficult on the UNH offense, everything was clicking for the Blackbirds.
Then like a switch, UNH turned on the defense and went to work. That LIU 15-point lead slowly started to evaporate. First, a 6-0 run by UNH got the ball rolling and then a 4-0 spurt and then another 6-0 run and then a 5-0 run to close the half. UNH finished on a 25-11 run to close the first half to get within one at the break at 38-37.
The run continued into the second half as UNH scored the first six points and gave them their largest lead of the game at 43-38. LIU would recover and keep the game within two possessions until they regained the lead. The game would go back and forth for a while with both teams trading leads.
Late in the game, LIU hit a pair of huge threes. First, Iverson Fleming hit a corner three to get LIU within one at 62-61 with 3:03 left and then Friðriksson hit a three to the right of the top of the key to give LIU back the lead with 2:26 left in regulation.
UNH would make a critical mistake late. While shooting free throws down a point at 64-63 with sixteen seconds remaining, UNH’s Joe Bramanti would make his first free throw but miss his second although it wouldn’t have counted anyway because UNH committed a lane violation on the shot. That gave LIU a chance to win the game in regulation but Friðriksson took a really deep 26-footer which fell short and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, it was senior Landon Atterberry who came up clutch. With LIU down 68-66 with 2:02 left, Atterberry had the ball above the three-point arc and couldn’t get the ball to anybody and decided to take the shot himself and made a big three to give LIU back the lead. Then two possessions later, after UNH regained the lead, Atterberry missed a short jumper but he followed his shot and stuck in the put-back to give LIU the lead again at 71-70 with 37 seconds remaining.
UNH’s Jacoby Armstrong got a follow tip to drop on the other end and with 27 seconds remaining and UNH up one, LIU head coach Jack Perri decides to not call a timeout and play it out. Martin Hermannsson would get the ball, penetrate and finish to give LIU a 73-72 lead with six seconds left.
UNH would get two good chances to win the game including a point blank shot by Tanner Leissner right before the buzzer but neither dropped and the whole LIU bench rushed the floor and mobbed their teammates at mid-court to celebrate a wild road win.
UNH got a team-high 18 points off the bench from Jacoby Armstrong on 8 of 11 shooting. Jaleen Smith finished with 13 points and Tanner Leissner finished with ten to drop UNH to a 6-5 record. Amazingly, UNH had seemingly everybody in foul trouble all game long and only fouled out one player in point guard Joe Bramanti.
LIU Brooklyn got 16 points from senior Landon Atterberry including those five big points in overtime. He was 7 of 10 from the field. Joel Hernandez chipped in with nine off the bench in 31 minutes of action. Nura Zanna had six and Iverson Fleming finished with five points before fouling out.
Gerrell Martin was held to just one shot in the game and finished scoreless in 20 minutes as Perri went with Hernandez late in the game.
LIU were without the services of sophomore Glenn Feidanga for the second straight game as he continues to nurse a nagging foot injury.
It is now four straight wins for LIU Brooklyn after starting the season 0-6 and LIU may be getting hot at the right time as they begin to head into NEC play with one more non-conference game to go against Hofstra on Sunday after their Christmas break.
LIU wasn’t as bad as that 0-6 start indicated and now this win streak is starting to show that this LIU Brooklyn team has pieces in place, even though they’re young, to do some damage in the NEC this season.
The momentum has clearly shifted and the final test before NEC play will come against a very good Hofstra team who has beaten Stony Brook and Norfolk State this season and lost to South Florida by just one. If LIU can keep this roll going into conference play and with three home games to start it off, this momentum could carry on for a while.