LIU Brooklyn goes to 3-0 with strong second half comeback and another defensive stand


LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri diagramming a play during their win against NCCU at Barclays Center. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

It definitely wasn’t pretty. Far from. But LIU Brooklyn once again used their defense to get a win, this time preserving a one-point victory at the Barclays Center on Sunday afternoon against North Carolina Central by a score of 78-77.

Junior forward Jerome Frink once again got a key block for the Blackbirds as he did last Monday against Loyola (Md.). This time, with LIU up one, Frink blocked NCCU’s Jeremiah Ingram shot with eight seconds left and then block him again with three seconds left and was able to corralled the rebound and launched it into LIU’s front court to run out the final ticks of the clock to get the win.

LIUs Jerome Frink with the key block late on NCCUs Jeremiah Ingram to help preserve LIUs third straight win. Photo: Bob Dea -BHJ

LIU’s Jerome Frink with the key block late on NCCU’s Jeremiah Ingram to help preserve LIU’s third straight win. (Photo: Bob Dea -BHJ)

Frink has been a nice surprise on the defensive end for LIU. This is now two games Frink has saved LIU with key blocks at the end of the games. Frink finished the game with four blocks and now has seven blocks for the season.

“Our main focus (in our comeback) was on the defense.” said Frink after the game. “They were a lot bigger than us. We knew we had to block them out and contain the ball. My main focus (in the NCCU’s last possession) was trying to stop the ball because we were down one, it was a lot on the line so I just stood my ground and got the block. It is just me being at the right place at the right time.”

To get to that point, LIU needed to comeback from a 12-point deficit that saw them down 64-52 with 11:37 left to go in the game. LIU was finally able to get their offense going by getting some key baskets from sophomore Martin Hermannsson and junior Joel Hernandez to go along with the solid play from Frink all game long. Also, junior Aakim Saintil’s continuous penetration and aggressiveness got him to free throw line fourteen times and helped get LIU their first lead of the game with just over two minutes to play.

“I knew that their backside of their zone was real weak.” said Saintil. “They kept hanging on to our shooters so I was like, if they keep hanging out there, I’ll just keep driving. Their guards just kept reaching so I was like I’m going to use that to my advantage and be aggressive.”

LIU struggled in the first half getting going offensively. The Blackbirds shot just 30% from the field and once again couldn’t get it going from three missing their first six of seven three attempts.

The Blackbirds came out of the locker room flat as NCCU increased their four-point halftime lead to twelve in the first five minutes of the second half and it looked like it was not going to be LIU’s day. But LIU, with players this season that now have the experience and poise, didn’t panic and instead creeped back into the game by attacking the basket and finally getting their shots to fall.

Junior guard Joel Hernandez slamming down two of his 16 points. Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ

Junior guard Joel Hernandez slamming down two of his 16 points. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Hernandez, in particular, had a big second half for LIU with fourteen second-half points to finish with sixteen. Perri, in the second half decided to go small and move Hernandez to the four-position, a position that he played a lot last season and even though Perri prefers to not have to play him in that spot, the junior guard thrived in the second half against bigger players.

“We went small down the stretch.” said Perri on his second half defensive adjustment. “That has been the lineup we kind of used late, using Joel at the four like we did last year. I don’t love doing that. I rather not but so far at this point it has been our best defensive lineup and we’ve been able to get stops so I’ve used it.”

LIU got a team-high 18 points from Frink along with seven rebounds. Saintil finished with fifteen, mainly by going 12 for 14 from the free throw line. He struggled from the floor, going 1 for 7. Hermannsson scored fifteen including scoring nine of those points in a late 12-2 run that got them right back in the game.

NCCU showed why they were perfect in the MEAC last season, they were a tough team all game long. Senior guard Donte Holmes, in his first game of the season after missing their first two games due to suspension, scored a game-high 26 points and was 4 of 5 from three. Holmes fouled out of the game with 4:59 remaining and the Eagles up by four. LIU outscored NCCU 11-6 in the final five minutes with Holmes out of the game. Junior Dajuan Graf finished with 11 for the Eagles who dropped to 1-2 to start their season.

Junior guard Aakim Saintil aggressiveness earned him 14 visits to the free throw line versus NCCU. Photo; Bob Dea -BHJ

Junior guard Aakim Saintil aggressiveness earned him 14 visits to the free throw line versus NCCU. (Photo; Bob Dea -BHJ)

LIU with the win now matches the 3-0 start they had back in 2010-11 in which they won their first four games that season and are the only undefeated team remaining among all NEC teams.

“That’s three-for-three with what we like to call them 50/50 games.” said Perri. “We got a lot of them on our schedule this year. In all three of them, we had to do a good job on the defensive end down the stretch so I’m very proud of our guys for making plays down the stretch. It was a tough game, (NCCU) is a great program. That was a great win for our guys.”

LIU now heads on the road through the Thanksgiving holiday as they first head down to Miami to next play Florida International on Wednesday in which it’s going to be a return for Jerome Frink who played his first two seasons collegiately at FIU before transferring to LIU Brooklyn prior to last season. A win at FIU would match the 2010-11 team for the last 4-0 start to their season and the 3-0 start is LIU’s best start in the Jack Perri era.


  1. Syncere Jenkins says:

    Im not on here to be negative but I must be critical of this team if it is going to reach its full potential . Coach Perri has a nice young team that seems to like each other oppose to last year’s group. But , Coach Perri still feels he needs to allow Martin Hermanson to be the goto leader on this team and he is constantly being exposed defensively. Coach Perri has another problem in regards to teaching his guys Defense switches in the paint after the point guard walks into the paint and dishes for easy layups .This shouldnt happen since there are Big’s to keep the paint on lock. If we remember the problem with the last Ny Knicks coach Mike Woodson was his defensive switches and the teams lack of being able to keep up with ball movements and so here with the Blackbirds . I am happy with the 3-0 start so far but this can be a mask of Fools Gold if these situations ARENT addressed and I mean FAST !!! Lets not also forget how to break a Press and the players inabilty to come back to the ball on traps which seems to be a coaching problem since the players look like they are programmed to run to their spots and not come out until they receive the ball . Common sense is to come back to help rather than turn the ball over ,this killed the blackbirds last year and trust me teams take notes and this will happen again . So Im writing this so Coach Perri can listen and make some adjustments because it will get worse before it gets better if he doesnt change .But the Blackbirds have a great chance this year to Win hopefully with the twins emerging and with Jerome Frink leading down the stretch keep turnovers down this could spell NCAA but we will see

    • Joe Jenkins says:

      Be happy the team is 3-0, please. And enough of the negativity. Hermannsson is averaging 17.3 points per game. What the heck else do you want him to do? Defensively, there have been lapses by many guys but that’s what early season is for – to clean things up. Not saying he’s perfect, but neither is any player on the team.

      NC Central went undefeated in their league last year and is picked to win it again this year. That was a good win today. Not sure what you mean about the press – they only turned the ball over 7 times in a 40-minute game. That’s pretty damn good, and the opponent turned it over twice as many times.

      And to be quite frank, I’m not sure what you mean about the twins emerging as Trevin hasn’t played much due to injury and Trevon has had just as many defensive lapses (aka fouls) as Hermannsson has. Like them as players and think they can help, but stop with the vendettas against certain players. It’s getting old.

      • Syncere Jenkins says:

        So I have a vendetta you say ? Well Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles can see that the defensive lapses so that would be a coaching issue The North Carolina Central guard burned Hermanson for damn near 30 in the 1 st half and it would have been 40 if he didnt foul out. If you are B Ball fan or coach which sounds like your a coach CYO B Ball 101 is learn to break a press in which this team has not perfected yet WHY ? Ask Perri ? Who coaches on this level and doesnt teach how to breaK THE PRESS ? Were you at the columbia scrimmage this year they were horrible how bout the 1st game on the road the 2nd game its always they turnover the ball on the press . Now my grip with hermanson he is overratted and coach puts his faith in trust in a slow guard who gets eating up on defense he is average scorer and can compliment this team but any right minded coach will never build with him as the foundation of their team especially when you have Jerome Frink who can lead and get a bucket in crunch time . Now this was a criticism because in my belief Coach Perri really cant coach he was given a good team when he got the job and went on great run but hasnt done much after they left. But its getting old nd your right its getting old how Coach preaches defense and he hasnt taught the basic’s or at least learned what his team can and can not do. If you hav read what I expalined I did say I liked this team but dont get it twiste they could be 1-3 right now they won a buzzer beater and could have lost to NC Central so dont think this is the 27 yankees or something there are holes and trust like last year with Martin and Elvar point guards from the NEC feasted on avg 20ppg do the research butenjoy the season I look forward to hearing you from you as i will continue to criticize as well as PRAISE !!!
        But their are a lot of holes to fix

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