Opponent: New Hampshire (America East Conference)
Record: 6-4 (Last game: L vs Sacred Heart, 73-60)
KenPom Ranking: 242
Tip-Off Time: 7:00pm
Location: Lundholm Gymnasium – Durham, NH
Media Game Coverage: Online: AmericaEast.TV/Audio: Wildcat Sports Network
Meeting History: Sixth all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads all-time series 4-1. This is the second meeting this season between the two teams. UNH won the first meeting at the Steinberg Wellness Center on December 3rd, 72-56.
Projected Starting Lineups:
LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Landon Atterberry (F), Nura Zanna (F)
New Hampshire: Jaleen Smith (G), Daniel Dion (G), Joe Bramanti (G), Tanner Leissner (F), Jacoby Armstrong (F)
In a rare occurrence, LIU Brooklyn is playing a non-conference opponent in New Hampshire twice in the same non-conference season. The Blackbirds lost to UNH already this season when the two teams meet nearly three weeks ago at the Steinberg Wellness Center. LIU trailed the entire game in a lackluster 72-56 loss to UNH.
Since that meeting, UNH has gone just 2-2 with one of the those wins against a non-division I opponent. They alternated wins and losses in their last four games, coming off a road loss against Sacred Heart on Saturday.
Freshman forward Tanner Leissner now leads the Wildcats in both scoring and rebounding with 12.7 points/game and 6.1 rebounds/game. Lessiner scored 13 points in the first meeting between the two teams. He recently scored a season-high 21 points against Colgate. He is shooting 46% from the field and 33% from three. He is doing a good job of drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. He is drawing five fouls per 40 minutes on opponents and is getting to the free throw line on 43.2% of his field goal attempts.
UNH point guard Daniel Dion who scored nine (all on three-pointers) in the last meeting is averaging 11.9 points/game and shooting 38% from both the field and from three. Since his back-to-back 23-point games right before the last LIU game, Dion is averaging just 9.6 points/game.
Sophomore guard Jaleen Smith led UNH with 16 points in the last meeting between the two teams. He was just 4 of 13 from the field but made a couple of three and was a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line. He is averaging nearly 11 points/games and in his last five games is averaging close to 12 points/game. He is also leading them in steals at 1.4 per game.
Ronnel Jordan scored 12 points off the bench in the last meeting but has scored 12 points total in his last four games including getting shutout against Sacred Heart in only playing three minutes. His minutes has seen a slow decline since the last meeting against LIU.
Currently, UNH is the top scoring team in the America East at 68.4 points/game. They are scoring 0.95 points/possession which is tied for third-best in the America East. UNH doesn’t turn the ball a lot, averaging 11.5 per game. They love to shoot the three-ball. Nearly 40% of their shots this season are three-pointers.
UNH also leads the America East in scoring defense, allowing 58.8 points/game. They allow 0.96 points/possession and give 42% field goal shooting to opponents. They play sound man-to-man defense. They get about nine steals per game and give up just 30% shooting from three. They don’t force a lot of turnovers but they also don’t tend to foul as much either so far this season.
– The spotlight will be on two Blackbirds who have been playing great of late. First, Elvar Fridriksson has been on a scoring tear over his last five games. He is averaging 13.6 points/game over that span while dishing out 4.6 assists/game. He is also shooting over 58% from the field and 47% from three during this five-game span. One thing to be mindful of with Fridriksson is the amount of minutes he has been logging of late. He has playing nearly 37 minutes/game over the last four games and lead LIU in minutes played at 33.0 minutes/game. No other Blackbird is logging over 30 minutes per game.
– The other spotlight will be on Joel Hernandez. He is now fully healthy this season and it is showing on the court. He got his second career double-double coming off the bench against FIU on Thursday. At 6’3”, he is leading the team in blocks with seven. He is competing hard mostly as an undersized power forward when either Nura Zanna or Landon Atterberry comes off the floor. He has four games already this season with ten or more points.
This is not the first time LIU had rattled off a win streak of three or more games after a six-game losing streak. In fact, in 2012-13, LIU had a six-game losing streak that season and then won their next six in a row in route to their third consecutive NEC title. They also won three straight after a six-game losing streak back in the 2009-10 season and finished fourth in the NEC that season.
LIU’s Keys to the Game:
– Protect the three-point line: UNH shot 12 for 26 from three vs LIU in the first meeting. LIU can’t let UNH hit double digit three pointers if they expect to win.
– Keep it rolling defensively: LIU has not given up over 1.0 points/possession over their last three games. It is no coincidence that they have won all three of those games. LIU also hasn’t given up more than 70 points in that span.
– LIU’s balanced scoring: The Blackbirds have done a great job this season of spreading out the scoring. On any given night, any player can be the man to have a huge game. The more players in double figures, the better their chance at winning.
LIU Injury Report:
Glenn Feidanga missed LIU’s last game vs Florida International after feeling discomfort in his foot once again. He likely be a game-time decision.
Jonathan Tshibuy is out until January as he recovers from minor knee surgery he had before the start of the season.
KenPom Game Prediction: New Hampshire, 66-61. LIU win probability: 71%.
The Blackbirds return back to Brooklyn to play in their final non-conference game of the season as they take on Hofstra at the Barclays Center in the second game of the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival on Sunday, December 28th. Tip-off will be approximately 2:30 pm.