LIU Gameday Preview – Game 12 (NEC Game 1) – Bryant

The Bryant Bulldogs opens up the 2014-15 NEC play for LIU Brooklyn on Saturday at the Steinberg Wellness Center. (Photo: http://www.hercampus.com)

Opponent: Bryant

Record: 3-6 (Last game: L vs Dartmouth, 76-59
KenPom Ranking: 250
Tip-Off Time: 4:30pm
Location: Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY
Media Game Coverage: Online: NEC Front Row — Audio: Red Zone Media
Meeting History: 11th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads all-time series 7-3. Last season, Bryant swept both meetings for the first time ever.

Projected Starting Lineups:

LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Landon Atterberry (F), Nura Zanna (F)

Bryant: Shane McLaughlin (G), Dyami Starks (G), Joe O’Shea (G), Gus Riley (F), Dan Garvin (F)

Opponent Preview:

Bryant is off to a 3-6 start and recently had their brief two-game win streak snapped against Dartmouth on New Year’s Eve. The Bulldogs have played just two games since their win at Army on December 9th.

Bryant is currently eighth in the NEC in scoring offense at 60.8 points/game. They match LIU’s points per possession of 0.91. The Bulldogs are shooting 38.2% from the field. They shot just 40% from two-point range and 35% from three. They are also not a good offensive rebounding team and don’t get to the free throw line a lot. They do protect the basketball and don’t turn it over much.

On defense, Bryant are third best in the NEC in scoring defense at 67.2 points/game. They allow 1.03 points/possession. Opponents shot 45% from the field but just 31.4% from three. Teams have an easier time scoring against them inside the three-point arc.

Bryant’s Dyami Starks (#12) currently leads the NEC in scoring at over 18 points per game. (Photo: Bob Dea)

When you talk about Bryant, you have to start with All-NEC first teamer Dyami Starks. Starks currently leads the NEC in scoring with 18.7 points/game. He has four games this season of 20 or more points scored. He has scored in double figures in every game this season although he is coming off probably his worst game of the season against Dartmouth in which he was 3 of 12 for ten points.

After Starks, the scoring output drops dramatically for Bryant. Dan Garvin at 6.9 points/game is their second leading scorer. He leads the team in rebounding at nearly six boards a game. Garvin has fouled out of five of their nine games this season and nearly fouled out of two more games.

Joe O’Shea is averaging 6.6 points/game. He also had issues with fouls, fouling out of three games this season. Junior forward Zach Chionuma is scoring 6.6 points/game in just over 14 minutes off the bench.

The player to keep on eye on beyond Starks in freshman guard Hunter Ware. He has played at least 29 minutes in each of the last four games and is averaging 11 points/game in that span. He has gone for double figures in three of the last four games.

LIU Spotlight:

It is the unofficial midway point to the LIU Brooklyn season. Non-conference play is over and now it’s time to focus in on conference play. At 4-7, it was quite an up and down first couple of months for the Blackbirds.

Now, LIU starts conference play with an early three game home stand starting with this game against Bryant. This is a big opportunity for LIU to get off to a good start and it would be wise for them to start off fast and get a good cushion in the standings before they have to head out on the road in what will likely be a pretty competitively balanced NEC this season.

It will be interesting to see how all the contributing freshmen will respond in their first action in NEC play. So far Nura Zanna, Elvar Friðriksson and Martin Hermannsson who have started every game so far for LIU have had their moments of quality play in non-conference. They will need to need to continue to play at a high level and stay consistent if the Blackbirds are to be one of the dark horses in the NEC this season. I believe Zanna has a good opportunity to become an even bigger impact player during conference play and go on a tear of double-double games barring he can keep himself out of foul trouble along the way.

LIU’s Keys to the Game:

– Keep Starks from the huge game: Dyami Starks is always capable of having a massive scoring game if he gets going from the outside. I think it is more important for LIU to keep Starks around his 18 ppg scoring average than him tearing it up and scoring 30 on LIU.

– Win the battle of the boards: LIU will need to limit Bryant’s ability to score on second-chance points. Bryant is not a great shooting team in particularly from three so LIU will need to hit the defensive glass and not allow Bryant to capitalize on second chance opportunities.

– Status of Gerrell Martin?: It sounds like Gerrell Martin will play which is good for LIU. Martin has scored just three points in the last two games although he was knocked out early from the last game vs Hofstra. LIU needs Martin to hit those open looks and help defend what will be a tough battle with Dyami Starks. Joel Hernandez and Iverson Fleming will also need to have good games as well off the bench and help in defending Starks.

LIU Injury Report:

– Gerrell Martin left LIU’s last game vs Hofstra with an apparent concussion after hitting his head hard while diving for a loose ball. Likely could be a game-time decision if he is cleared to play but the early word is that there is a good chance he will play.

– Glenn Feidanga has missed LIU’s last three games due to his reoccurring ankle injury. He’ll be once again a game-time decision. Feidanga has now missed six of LIU’s ten games this season.

– Jonathan Tshibuy is suppose to make his return sometime this month from his knee injury.

KenPom Game Prediction: LIU Brooklyn, 68-65. LIU win probability: 61%.

Next Up: 

The Blackbirds continue their NEC season opening three-game home stand with the second game of three as LIU hosts Fairleigh Dickinson at the Steinberg Wellness Center on Monday, January 5th at 7:30 pm. The game follows the LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball game against FDU at 5pm.

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