Record: 8-8 (Last game: Loss vs Harvard, 66-57)
KenPom Ranking: 200
Tip-Off Time: 7:00pm
Location: Chace Athletic Center – Smithfield, RI
Media Game Coverage: Online: NEC Front Row
Meeting History: 12th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads all-time series 7-4. Bryant won the first meeting of the season back on January 3rd in the NEC season opener at the Steinberg Wellness Center 67-63. Bryant has won the last three meetings in the series.
Projected Starting Lineups:
LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Joel Hernandez (F), Nura Zanna (F)
Bryant: Shane McLaughlin (G), Dyami Starks (G), Joe O’Shea (G), Andrew Scocca (F), Dan Garvin (F)
The Bulldogs are co-leaders of the NEC with a 5-1 record along with St. Francis Brooklyn. They just played on Tuesday at home in a non-conference game against Ivy League favorites Harvard and lost 66-57 as Harvard closed the game on 8-0 run to clinch the W.
Bryant has won four straight games after losing to St. Francis Brooklyn on January 5th 63-47 in which they scored their second lowest point total of the season.
When they two teams meet back on January 3rd in the NEC opener, LIU jumped out to a ten-point lead early in the second half before Dyami Starks took over the game and scored 19 of his 25 points in the half to bring Bryant back and give them the 67-63 victory.
Starks is currently tied for seventh in scoring in NEC games this season with 15.2 points per game. He is shooting 39% in conference play. Has made 12 threes over the six conference games but has made more than three in any one game. He has though scored 42 points over the last two NEC games including a season-high 26 points at Wagner. His 17.3 points per game for the season is second among all NEC scorers. Scored a team-high 18 points vs Harvard but took 22 shots.
Fellow senior Joe O’Shea who scored 18 in the last meeting, is actually leading Bryant in scoring in NEC play with 15.5 points per game, sixth in the NEC. He is shooting 52.5% from the field and averaging 7.5 rebounds per game in conference. He scored a season-high 21 points against Saint Francis U. in a 36-point win.
Sophomore Dan Garvin has picked up his play during NEC play. He is averaging 11.1 points per game in conference play. He has also collected two double-double in the last three games including a 16-point and 18-rebound game against FDU. Garvin is shooting 55.3% (6th in the NEC) and 9 rebounds per game in NEC play so far this season.
Freshman Hunter Ware didn’t have a great game vs LIU in the first meeting has since turned up the scoring production. After the LIU game, he averages 13.4 ppg over the next five conference games. Had a quiet game vs Harvard with just three points. Junior Shane McLaughlin who scored ten points against LIU is averaging 9.5 ppg and logging over 37 minutes over the last seven games.
The Bulldogs are currently eighth in the NEC in scoring offense at 63.9 ppg but are second in the NEC in scoring defense with 64.9 ppg allowed. Bryant is scoring 0.96 points per possession on offense and allowing 0.99 points per possession on defense. Bryant’s field goal percentage is 41.2% (6th in NEC) and are making 46.7% on two-pointers (T-3rd) and 32.6% on threes (4th in NEC).
If there is one thing that has been consistent about this LIU Brooklyn team, is that their offense has been very inconsistent. LIU is eighth in the NEC in points per possession at 0.93 ppp. The last time their points per possession were that low was back in 2006-07 when they finished with a 0.94 ppp.
Although, LIU is fourth in the NEC in scoring offense at 66.9 ppg, that is a far cry from the high-octane offense we had been accustomed to seeing. Even last season, they scored nearly 72 ppg. One of the main reason for their offensive woes this season is their field goal shooting. They are dead last in shooting at 39% and are dead last on two-point attempts, hitting just 42.8% of their twos.
LIU only has one player making 50% of his shots and that is Nura Zanna. Gerrell Martin, Landon Atterberry and Chris Carter are the only other players even making 40% of their shots and Martin and Atterberry are barely above the threshold. In three of their four losses, they shot under 38% from the field. This team needs to shoot better as well as take better shots.
LIU’s Keys to the Game:
– Cool down Starks: As LIU saw in the first meeting, if Starks gets going, Bryant is going to be difficult to beat. They have a man checking Starks as soon as he crosses mid-court.
– Play two complete halves: The Blackbirds can’t afford to have one good half and one bad. They need to put to solid halves together if they want to get out off Bryant with an upset win.
– Limit the turnovers: LIU have got to cut down on the turnovers and make better decisions with the basketball.
KenPom Game Prediction: Bryant, 70-61. LIU win probability: 17 %.
LIU Brooklyn head to Hackensack, NJ to take on the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights on Saturday, January 24th. Game is scheduled for 4:30pm.