LIU Gameday Preview – Game 21 (NEC Game 10) – St. Francis Brooklyn

The Pope Physical Education Center. Home of the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers and to the 40th annual Battle of Brooklyn game between LIU Brooklyn and St. Francis Brooklyn. (Photo: sfc.edu)

Opponent: St. Francis Brooklyn

Record: 13-9, 7-2 NEC (Last game: W vs Mount St. Mary’s, 73-67, OT
KenPom Ranking: 157
Tip-Off Time: 4:00pm
Location: Pope Physical Education Center – Brooklyn, NY
Media Game Coverage: TV: MSG and FOX College Sports; Online: NEC Front Row
Meeting History: 101th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads the series, 63-37. This is the 40th Battle of Brooklyn meeting. LIU Brooklyn also leads the Battle of Brooklyn series, 23-16. LIU has won four straight and five of the last six Battle of Brooklyn games.

Projected Starting Lineups:

LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Joel Hernandez (F), Nura Zanna (F)

St. Francis Brooklyn: Brent Jones (G), Tyreek Jewell (G), Chris Hooper (F), Lowell Ulmer (F), Jalen Cannon (F)

Opponent Preview:

It’s no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to see St. Francis Brooklyn at the top of the NEC standings. They were the overwhelming pick of most to win the NEC this season including the NEC coaches and they haven’t disappointed.

St. Francis Brooklyn is currently tied for first-place in the NEC along with Robert Morris with a 7-2 record at the halfway mark. The Terriers feature two likely All-NEC first teamers with one of those likely becoming this season’s NEC Player of the Year as well as a possible NEC Defensive Player of the Year candidate. This is win-now team.

When you talk about the Terriers, first thing you think about is their defense. In terms of points per possession, St. Francis Brooklyn have the stingiest defense in the NEC. They allow an NEC-best 0.96 points per possession. They are the only NEC allowing under 1.0 points per possession. They give up 65.1 points per game which is second-best in the NEC behind St. Francis (PA). They are one the best blocking team in the NEC in which their block percentage is far and away the best in the NEC at 13.4%. They get nearly five blocks per game. They are also the best rebounding team in the NEC at 35.1 boards per game and 36% of their rebounds are on the offensive end.

St. Francis Brooklyn is best shooting team in the NEC from inside the three-point arc at nearly 52% and they get to the free throw line a ton. Their free throw rate is tops in the NEC as well at 43.8%. If there is a couple of weaknesses the Terriers has it’s mostly on the offensive end. The Terriers are an average three-point shooting team at 32.5% and they are near the bottom in the NEC in free throw shooting at 64%. Their offense is very deliberate with the slowest tempo in the NEC of 62.7 possession per game. They usually get the game to be played at their pace.

When you mention the Terriers, it all begins with their star seniors in forward Jalen Cannon and point guard Brent Jones. Both are tied for team lead in scoring at 14.9 points per game. Cannon is the NEC leader in rebounds at 9.7 rebounds per game while Jones is the NEC leader in steals at 2.2 per game. Jones is also second in the NEC in assists at 5 assists per game. Cannon just became the fourth player in NEC history to grab 1000 rebounds for his career. Cannon has collected 12 double-doubles this season and has fouled out just once this season. Neither Cannon nor Jones foul much, both are nationally ranked by kenpom in fouls committed over 40 minutes. Cannon just had a career-high 26 points and 13 rebounds game in their last game versus Mount St. Mary’s which went into overtime and played all 45 minutes. Jones has scored in double-digits in all but one game this season.

Then they have junior forward Amdy Fall coming off the bench who is probably going to win NEC Defensive Player of the Year. Fall is premier shot blocker in the NEC and has been since he joined the Terriers last season. Fall is averaging 2.7 blocks per game. He also does a good job on the boards grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game. He also can contribute some on offense. He has two double-doubles this season and shoots 48% from the field.

Along with Fall and Cannon, the Terriers have plenty of bodies in the front court with guys like 6’5″ Kevin Douglas, 6’6″ Chris Hooper, 6’7″ Antonio Jenifer and 6’5″ Lowell Ulmer.

After Jones, two key guys in the backcourt for the Terriers are shooting guard Tyreek Jewell and freshman backup point guard Glenn Sanabria. Jewell is third on the Terriers in scoring at 9.7 points per game. He is definitely a volume shooter. He has taken 226 shots this season and is only a 36% shooter. He has had a rough season shooting the three making only 19% of his threes. Sanabria has been a welcome addition to the Terriers. He is scoring 5.7 points per game off the bench and has made 40% of his threes this season. He has played a lot in crunch time along with Jones and has already made some key baskets for them this season.

LIU Spotlight:

The spotlight in this game will be on LIU front court. This is going to be a key matchup in today’s game. The tandam of Nura Zanna, Joel Hernandez, Landon Atterberry, and Glenn Feidanga and quite possibly at times Trevon and Trevin Woods and even Chris Carter will need to put forth one of their best efforts of the season against a very good and deep St. Francis Brooklyn front line.

This is big game for the freshman Nura Zanna. He is going to draw a tough defensive assignment in guarding the potential NEC Player of the Year Jalen Cannon. If Zanna is going to play major minutes in this one, he is going to have to play smart and keep away from the silly fouls. The Terriers will no doubt try to get him into foul trouble early and often.

Feidanga and Atterberry are going to have to be relied on heavily in this game as well if Zanna gets into foul trouble and Hernandez is proven too small against the Terriers front court especially on the boards. These guys are going to have do a tremendous job on the glass on both ends for LIU to have a chance at the upset win.

LIU’s Keys to the Game:

– Rebound Battle: LIU isn’t a strong rebounding team. The Terriers are. LIU will need to bring forth a strong rebounding effort or else it could be a long game for them.

– Get to the free throw line…and make ’em: The Terriers usually don’t foul a lot so when LIU gets the free throw line, they have to make their freebies. Getting to the rim will be difficult due to SFBK’s rim protectors but LIU will need to try and make an effort and hope some of the whistles go their way.

– Hit their threes: St. Francis Brooklyn is susceptible to the three-point shot on the defensive end. LIU will need to make their open looks from outside.

KenPom Game Prediction: St. Francis Brooklyn, 73-62. LIU win probability: 14%.

Next Up: 

The Blackbirds continue their tough current stretch of games as Robert Morris comes to the Steinberg Wellness Center on Thursday, February 5th for a 7:00pm game.

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