Blackbirds open NEC play in ugly fashion, loss to Mount by 16

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LIU’s Martin Hermannsson finished with a game-high 17 points in their NEC season opening loss at Mount St. Mary’s Saturday afternoon. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

This was never going to be an easy one. When we all looked at LIU Brooklyn’s NEC schedule and saw that they were going to open at Mount St. Mary’s, we all thought it was going to be a tough win to get on the road. Well, LIU Brooklyn didn’t give themselves much of a chance with a horrid first half which saw them down by 15 by halftime, on their way to a 79-63 loss to the Mountaineers to open NEC play 0-1.

Why did LIU get crushed? First, LIU was walking into a little bit of hornet’s nest. Mount, as I documented in my preview of the game, dominate at home. The Mount were coming back home, where they were 3-0 coming into the game and were beating teams by 16+ points per game, after a four-game road trip and a bad loss to a not very good Binghamton team. So the Mount was ready to go and they showed it with 24-8 run to end the first half which took the game for an LIU one-point lead to a 15-point deficit.

LIU gave up nine three-pointers, five of them coming in the first half, while hitting on just three of twelve for the entire game. 25% three-point shooting just won’t get it done especially when they only shoot twelve threes.

They feed into the beast known as Mount Mayhem by turning the ball over 21 times leading to 20 Mount points. LIU’s transition defense kept getting toasted down the court and gave up wide open threes especially to Will Miller who all he does is shoot threes.

Jerome Frink got his second straight double-double and fourth of the season vs Mount. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Jerome Frink got his second straight double-double and fourth of the season vs Mount. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

LIU’s shot selection was terrible. Some of the shot would be kind to describe as ugly. The only reason why this was a bigger blowout was because LIU was able to go to the free throw line 26 times and make 20 of them while the Mount only went to the line 13 times.

The only three Blackbirds who came to play were Martin Hermannsson, Jerome Frink and Joel Hernandez.

Hermannsson continues his stretch of fine play with a game-high 17 points. It is now the third game in a row Hermannsson has scored at least 17 points. He did it while taking just nine shots.

Frink finished with second straight double-double and fourth of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Hernandez scored 14 points and was 6 of 7 from the free throw line which was his best free throw shooting game of the season. He did also lead LIU with five turnovers.

That was the good. The rest was just ugly.

This was another poor shooting game for Aakim Saintil who is now officially in a slump after his great start to the season. Saintil scored just seven points on 1 of 11 shooting and played just nine minutes in the first half with once again, foul trouble. Saintil is got to figure out that LIU needs him on the floor and not sitting on the bench because of fouls. You don’t want to see him lose his aggressive on defense but he is got to play smarter and stop with all the reaching fouls. It is hurting him and the team.

Nura Zanna, probably played his worst game I’ve seen him play in a LIU uniform. Zanna went scoreless with just three rebounds and played 11 forgettable minutes. He was fumbling the ball left and right and just looked all out of sorts. He couldn’t catch anything cleanly and just didn’t look ready to go. Give some of that credit to the Mount. Zanna is got to find some of that mean streak he had at times last season because you really haven’t seen much of it at all this season.

Joel Hernandez had another good game with 14 points. Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ

Joel Hernandez had another good game with 14 points. Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ

LIU’s bench didn’t provide much help either. Iverson Fleming was okay. He finished with six points but had four turnovers. Glenn Feidanga pulled six rebounds in his eleven minutes. The Woods twins once again struggled, 0 of 4 combined, 0 of 3 from three, two rebounds between them. This bench group has to start getting going. Julius van Sauers missed his seventh straight game due to a high ankle sprain.

LIU’s defense allowed Mount to score 1.065 points per possession (74 possessions) and allowed five Mount players to score in double figures lead by BK Ashe’s 16 points. Gregory Graves finished with 14 points while Junior Robinson, Elijah Long and Chris Wray finished with 13 points each to help Mount start NEC play 1-0 in the first of four straight home games to start the conference season. LIU scored 0.871 ppp (72 possessions), their fourth straight under 1.0 ppp game and seventh this season.

The Blackbirds are now .500 for the season at 6-6 and have lost six of their last nine games after a 3-0 start to their season. This is the fourth straight NEC opening loss for LIU in Jack Perri’s four seasons as head coach.

LIU won’t have much time to dwell on this loss luckily. LIU has to hop on a bus and head up to New Britain, CT for a game on Monday night against the CCSU Blue Devils who lost their season opener on the road by 16 points as well to Bryant.

LIU can’t mess around Monday night especially after this type of loss. They have to go up to CCSU ready to play and ready to win and honestly no NEC team wants to lose to one-win CCSU. Even though, there are no gimmes in the NEC, LIU has to take advantage of games like this and get that first NEC win out of the way. This game against Mount, although bad, could be just a blip on the screen for the week and can be put behind them quickly if they come out strong on Monday night.

Comments

  1. Michael Hernandez says:

    Hi Nelson,
    Hope all is well.
    Saw all the first half and some of the second. For me, this was a game about who controlled the pace. Cleary we didn’t. They’re athletic and quick. We’re a tad slow. We don’t have their quickness. How do you beat a quick team that lives on chaos, by pressing, which causes turnovers and leads to quick, easy baskets? Discipline and control the pace. How do you beat a team that slashes to the basket and dishes to the open man? Discipline and a good old disciplined matchup zone. How do you beat a team that fouls and fouls a lot and rebounds poorly. Discipline and on offense, slash to the basket, and pound it to the bigs and make them pay inside. This is a team that runs at a breakneck pace all the time and have much difficulty winning if the pace is not theirs. They can’t live by the trey alone. I cannot understand why we have difficulty beating teams like this. Although they’re tough at home, this is a team that doesn’t win many games on the road, except when they play us.
    As for us, from what I’ve seen, beating a press has been difficult. This is about teaching players to run the end line, having another player drop behind the end line receiving a pass from the other player who was supposed to put it in play. This should cause the defense to reset in the meantime we’re able to put the ball in play by freeing up the player who was to put the ball in play. Taking foolish, quick and low percentage treys after coming over the ten second line, to me, is a problem. This is exactly what other teams want. I believe we have the best inside man in the NEC. GET HIM THE DAMN BALL!!! He’s good; he’s smart; he can score; he rebounds well. We’re not a quick team. We have good bigs (if some can hold on to the ball) and should be able to score inside effectively inside. Let’s take advantage of this! Let’s play smart! Let’s play within ourselves, disciplined and under control! Let’s play good defense! Let’s play as team!
    Nelson, look forward to hearing what you think.
    Mike Hernandez, B’71

    • Thanks for the comment Michael. I think you hit on a lot of good points. I agree with you, LIU might have the best front court player in the conference and need to do a better job getting him the ball more. I think they need to do a much better job with shot selection because it has been terrible of late. I was surprised at how ill-prepared they looked against the Mount press. They knew it was coming, they had the right ball handlers in the game but these didn’t looked at all comfortable. Credit the Mount but that shouldn’t happen. I think the games this week are going to be telling how well they are going to do in the NEC this season. After CCSU, Robert Morris and SFU comes to Brooklyn this weekend which aren’t going to be easy games.

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