In what many felt would be a tight affair between two teams trying to make the charge into a top four position in the NEC standings, it turned into a laughter for the home team as Mount St. Mary’s absolutely dominated LIU Brooklyn to snap the Blackbirds’ four-game winning streak with a 82-65 blowout victory on Thursday night. The final score wasn’t indicative of how bad LIU were outplayed especially in the second half.
LIU Brooklyn was able to get off to a good start and led by as much as five past the midway point of the first half. From that point on though, it was all Mount St. Mary’s. The Mount went on a 17-2 run to take control of the game and really never look back as they pretty much cruised in the second half, scoring 44 second half points.
Three players who really hurt LIU in this game were Bryon Ashe, Gregory Graves and Andrew Smeathers. Ashe had a tremendous game, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7 of 17 shooting. Graves scored 18 on just six shots, going five of six from the field and Smeathers hit some daggers threes off the bench in the second half to finish with 15 points.
LIU for the second game in a row against the Mount, just couldn’t handle the Mount Mayhem press. LIU committed seventeen turnovers which led to 28 points for the Mount. LIU were only able to score nine points from the Mount’s ten turnovers.
The Mount was also able to build a nice halftime cushion by getting to the free throw line 16 times and hitting on 15 of those. Mount finished 27 of 32 from the charity stripe.
The Blackbirds also didn’t get much from three-fifths of their starting lineup as Joel Hernandez, Gerrell Martin and Nura Zanna combined for just six points on 2 of 12 from the field. Hernandez got into foul trouble in the first half which hurt him the rest of the game. Zanna and Martin were nearly invisible. Neither one of those two guys made a field goal in this game although Zanna did grab nine rebounds to lead LIU in that department.
LIU shot just 30% in the second half and were 0 for 9 from three. They finished the game shooting 37% and were just 3 of 19 on threes in the game.
Elvar Friðriksson had a good first half with nine points and made of couple of threes to keep LIU in striking distance. LIU had no one really step up in the second half as Mount started pouring it on and led by as much as 27 before LIU cut it down during extended garbage time.
Friðriksson finished with 11 points. Hermannsson also finished with 11 but was just 1 of 6 from the field as he did his damage from the free throw line where he was 9 of 10. Jamil Hood took advantage of playing in mostly second half garbage time and scored a career-high 11 points in nine minutes. Trevin Woods finished with eight points and Trevon Woods finished with seven points in their return after missing the SFU game on Saturday due to a family emergency. Freshman walk-on Mark Parisi got into a game for the first time this season and recorded a rebound in his three minutes.
LIU Brooklyn’s second loss to the Mount this season gives the Mountaineers the tiebreaker against one another. Now LIU doesn’t have any tiebreaker advantage against Bryant and Mount St. Mary’s who both swept LIU in their two meetings this season.
This loss along with Bryant’s win one-point win over Wagner virtually eliminated LIU from getting a two-seed as with Bryant having a two-game advantage with three games to play. Mount moves into a tie for third with Robert Morris at 9-6 but RMU owns the tiebreaker against them so RMU currently still owns the three-seed while Mount has the four-seed.
Saint Francis U. loss on the road to Central Connecticut on Thursday so LIU is currently in the fifth-seed slot due to owning the tiebreaker over them. Sacred Heart defeated Robert Morris so they are now a game back of LIU along with Wagner.
Even though the road trip ended is a disappointing fashion, LIU did go 2-1 on the three-game trip which still puts LIU in good shape of earning a top four seed for the NEC tournament in a couple of weeks. LIU now heads home for a couple of big games.
Saturday’s game against Wagner at the Steinberg Wellness Center now becomes a near must-win situation if they want to get a NEC quarterfinal home game. A loss to Wagner would put them in a tie with each other and would give Wagner the tiebreaker by winning both games of the series this season. Plus Sacred Heart is getting hot and charging hard.
The Blackbirds might have been due for a bad game after being so hot of late but now they got to refocused and get back up from the mat. Now is time to get back to work at practice on Friday and finish out strong. They have to try and get a win on Saturday or else this late charge will be for naught and they could end up with a bottom seed and have to go on the road to face a team they will likely want to avoid playing in the first round. The room for error now is almost down to none if a top four is in their sight.