The tale of two halves season continues for LIU Brooklyn as once again, LIU couldn’t sustain their first half momentum into the second half as they let go of a seven-point halftime lead and lose for the second straight game 74-69 to the Bryant Bulldogs at the Chace Athletic Center on Thursday night. Bryant sweeps the regular season series from LIU for the second straight season.
It was an even affair for much of the first half before LIU would finish the half on a 8-0 run to take a 32-25 lead thanks to back-to-back three-pointers from Trevin Woods and Iverson Fleming.
As has been the problem with Blackbirds of late, the second half bug-a-boo reared it ugly head. This time, it was on the defensive end. Bryant quickly erased a seven-point halftime deficit with a 9-2 run in three and half minutes and the game was tied in no time.
It would stay tight until a 7-1 run by Bryant in a span of a minute and a half with 5:44 left, put them in front for good. LIU would get as close as down one with 3:05 left before Bryant closed the door on LIU’s upset bid by closing the game outscoring the Blackbirds 14-5. LIU scored five late points to make the score look a little more reasonable as they fell by five.
LIU were once again out-rebounded by Bryant 38 to 30 and they gave up 13 offensive rebounds to the Bulldogs and grabbed just seven on their end. Also, Bryant got to the free throw line 22 times and hit 17 of those. LIU was just 12 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Bryant outscored LIU in the second half 49-37. Once again, the Blackbirds defense in the second half went to sleep and gave up 49 points on 13 of 29 shooting for the Bulldogs. Bryant hit 11 of 29 three-pointers in the game, seven of those came in the second half. This comes on the heels of LIU allowing 42 second half points to Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday.
Both teams scored over 1.0 points per possessions. LIU scored 1.06 ppp but gave up 1.19 to the Bulldogs.
Bryant were led by senior Dyami Starks with 16 points although he didn’t really have a great night with 5-14 shooting. Joe O’Shea finished with a double-double 15 points and 12 rebounds and had a great second half for the Bulldogs. He and Shane McLaughlin, who had 12 points and 8 assists, were the reasons why Bryant had such a great second half. They played great. Dan Garvin scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman Hunter Ware finished with ten points to help Bryant stay on pace with St. Francis Brooklyn for first-place in the NEC at 6-1.
LIU Brooklyn got a team-high 13 points from Martin Hermannsson although his final stat line doesn’t look so great with 4-10 shooting, some of those misses came late with the game no longer in doubt. He actually played a very solid game. Nura Zanna scored 11 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 32 minutes although he fouled out for the eighth time this season. Iverson Fleming played well off the bench with ten points on a perfect 3 for 3 shooting night including two made threes.
Gerrell Martin had a quiet night with just nine points. Joel Hernandez also had nine. Trevin Woods scored seven.
One notable absence for LIU was senior forward Landon Atterberry. He missed this game due to illness and stayed in Brooklyn.
Sophomore Glenn Feidanga did return back to the LIU lineup for just the fifth time this season after missing the last nine games due to a setback with his ankle injury that has been bothering him most of this season. He played seven minutes and scored a basket.
The latest loss now puts LIU at 2-5 in the NEC and they’re in a three-way tie for seventh-place along with FDU who LIU plays on Saturday and Sacred Heart who needed overtime to beat FDU at home by a point. The rest of the field, expect for CCSU who are winless and in last place, are at least two games ahead of this seventh-place group.
This game would have been considered an upset if LIU had stolen it but LIU has to find a way to correct these second half woes so they can find a way to steal some games in the next few weeks if they want to secure a NEC tournament spot. Now they are in a dogfight for those last two spots. The game on Saturday versus FDU takes on a greater significance with both teams at 2-5 and both teams looking to end losing streaks. FDU has lost five straight after starting off 2-0 in conference. LIU will be looking for some measure of revenge after losing to FDU at home 75-69 nearly three weeks ago.