Opponent: Sacred Heart
Record: 7-8 (Last game: W vs Central Connecticut State, 75-66)
KenPom Ranking: 215
Tip-Off Time: 7:00pm
Location: Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY
Media Game Coverage: Online: NEC Front Row — Audio: Red Zone Media
Meeting History: 28th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads the series 18-9 and they are 11-3 at home in the series. LIU has won two straight and seven out of the last eight vs Sacred Heart.
Projected Starting Lineups:
LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Landon Atterberry (F), Nura Zanna (F)
Sacred Heart: Phil Gaetano (G), Cane Broome (G), Evan Kelley (G), De’von Barnett (F), Tevin Falzon (F),
The Pioneers are in the second season of the Anthony Latina era and so far, it is going much better in the second go-around than it did in the first.
They enter this game at 7-8 which is already two wins better than they had all of last season and already halfway to matching their NEC win total of two from last season.
This season, Latina has more of the players that fits his up-tempo style of play and the results are starting to show. Sacred Heart has the best scoring offense currently in the NEC at 71.1 points per game and they are also the best shooting team in the NEC at 45.6 percent. They make 48.6% of their two-pointers and nearly 32% of threes. They score 0.97 points per possession and get nearly 71 possession per game. They don’t score alot of their points from the three-point line. In fact, just 20.6% of their points are from threes.
LIU fans knows this already but when you play fast and like to score and you tend to give up points on the defensive end as well. Sacred Heart is second-worst in the NEC in scoring defense at 71.5 points per game and they give up 1.02 points per possession. Opponents shoot 42.8% against the Pioneers defense.
Sacred Heart may have the possible NEC Rookie of the Year in freshman guard Cane Broome. He is their top scorer at 14.1 points per game. He is the top freshman scorer in the NEC currently. He has started in every game this season. He is shooting 48% from the field and has had four 20 or more points scoring games. Has twice gone for a season-high 25 points.
Seniors Evan Kelley and Phil Gaetano return for their last going around. Kelley is Sacred Heart’s second-leading scorer with 12.6 points per game. The consistency for Kelley of late hasn’t been there but he has had some big games this season which includes a season-high 27 points against Campbell. It is no surprise that Gaetano is the NEC leading assist-man at nearly six assists per game. He has has at six assist in eight of his last ten games. He is only a 36% shooter from the field but has made nearly 39% of his threes.
Last season’s All-NEC rookie team member De’von Barnett is equaling his numbers from the season ago. He is currently averaging 10.2 points per game. He has double-double potential. He already has one this season with an 18-point, 11-rebound performance against Lafayette.
Sacred Heart biggest improvement over last season may be in the front court with the performance of Tevin Falzon and the addition of transfer Jordan Allen. Falzon is averaging 8.4 points per game and is coming off probably the best game of his college career with 22 points and 13 rebounds along with five blocks against Central Connecticut State on Monday. He is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.7 rebounds per game. Allen, the Hofstra transfer who had also consider playing for LIU Brooklyn over the summer, is averaging 8.7 points per game while playing just 20 minutes off the bench. His scoring production has slowed down over what he was doing in December. He had a four-game stretch where he scored 14, 14, 12 and 19 points. Since then he hasn’t scored more than 11 points in a game.
Senior Steve Glowiak is coming off the bench this season and is their designated three-pointer shooter. He is averaging just 7.7 and is shooting 33% from three. 79 of his 106 shots have been from three. He has been playing better of late with a 15-point game and 14-point game in two of his last three games.
The spotlight is on senior Gerrell Martin who has brought his A-game in NEC play. He scored 27 points in the NEC opener vs Bryant and 23 points vs FDU on Monday. He is 16 for 30 from the field over the last two games and has knocked down seven three pointers.
Martin has been more aggressive taking the ball to the basket and has seen himself get to the free throw line more because of it. He has shot 15 of his 31 free throws for the season in the last two games. He has also taken a page from former teammate Jason Brickman in which he plays without fouling. He has committed just ten fouls in thirteen games and hasn’t committed more than one foul in his last ten games.
LIU’s Keys to the Game:
– Put the ball in the hoop: Time for other starters not named Gerrell Martin to get going on the offensive end and score some points. Elvar Friðriksson in particular needs to find his shooting touch back.
– Keep an eye on Cane: You would imagine after LIU was sliced apart by FDU freshman Darien Anderson for 26 points on Monday that they would be more aware defensive of SHU’s super frosh Cane Broome and not letting him getting good looks at the basket and get into the lane for layups. LIU will need a solid defensive game from their guards to slow him down.
– Win Rebounding Battle: LIU has been out-rebounding in their losses to Bryant and FDU. Sacred Heart nearly match LIU in rebounds per game so the team who wins the battle of the boards will likely take the W.
LIU Injury Report:
– Glenn Feidanga has now missed LIU’s last five games due to his reoccurring ankle injury. At the moment, there is no definite timetable to his return.
– Jonathan Tshibuy is still out, recovering from knee surgery. No timetable yet for his return.
KenPom Game Prediction: LIU Brooklyn, 73-72. LIU win probability: 51%.
LIU Brooklyn heads on the road for the start of a two-game road trip which begins in Staten Island at Wagner on Saturday, January 10th at the Spiro Sports Center. Tip time is scheduled for 4:00 pm.