Blackbirds fall to desperate RMU in disappointing home loss

Not a good night for the Blackbirds as RMU comes to Brooklyn and leaves with a big win while dropping LIU to 1-2 in NEC. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Not a good night for the Blackbirds as RMU comes to Brooklyn and leaves with a big win while dropping LIU to 1-2 in NEC. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

“I’m not happy. Not happy.”

That summed up the mood LIU Brooklyn head Jack Perri was after his team fell to Robert Morris at the Steinberg Wellness Center Thursday night, 70-60.

Perri knew RMU was going to come out desperate and looking to doing anything to avoid losing three straight NEC games to start the conference season, a feat they have not done since the 1995-96 season and he was disappointed with the effort his team gave.

Jerome Frink soaring for two of LIU-leading 20 points but it wasnt enough. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Jerome Frink soaring for two of LIU-leading 20 points but it wasn’t enough. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

“We didn’t compete hard enough.” said an annoyed Perri after the game. “I thought we weren’t ready. I thought our guys did a good job in practice the last few days. I knew this was going to be a great challenge because they are 0-2 and they are a great program but I don’t think it was them, I thought it was us. We just didn’t come out with enough fire, with enough focus.”

Even though LIU wasn’t playing at their best, they were still in the game and led by two at 51-49 with 9:59 remaining after a Martin Hermannsson layup after going into halftime tied at 31.

But it was RMU who starting make the plays they needed to get back the lead and eventually pull away. A three by NEC Player of the Year candidate Rodney Pryor put the Colonials up for good at 52-51. LIU would try to hang in with threes from Hermannsson and Trevin Woods but RMU’s Elijah Minnie would answer both LIU threes with threes of his own and then as an exclamation point, put on a highlight reel one-hand slam over Woods to put RMU up eight and seal their NEC win of the season.

“Our transition defense was poor. Our rebounding was lackluster at best. Our decision making wasn’t great. We were flat and that is really, really disappointing.” said Perri.

LIU were vexed by the RMU 2-3 zone which probably put forth one of their best defensive efforts of their season. LIU couldn’t get perimeter shots to fall over the zone and struggled once again with their three point shot. They were just 4 of 22 from three while RMU made 9 of 22 which turned out to be one key difference in the game.

The other was LIU got into foul problems early in the second half after playing a rather clean first half committing just four first half fouls. RMU shot just two free throws to LIU’s fifteen in the first half. It was a different story in the second half as RMU got the calls and went to the line 22 times to LIU’s three. RMU went 12 of 22 from the line while LIU was just 2 of 3 from the line in the second half.

RMUs Rodney Pryor put on a great performance in helping his team get first NEC win of the season. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

RMUs Rodney Pryor put on a great performance in helping his team get first NEC win of the season. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Rodney Pryor proved why many picked him for NEC Player of the Year this season as he did it all for the Colonials. He finished with a game-high 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in 34 minutes. He also had a highlight reel dunk of his own with a one-hand tomahawk slam over 6’7″ Nura Zanna which might be playing over and over in his dreams tonight. Isaiah Still and Elijah Minnie both finished with 13 points to break a four-game losing streak and notch their first W in the NEC win column.

Junior forward Jerome Frink did everything he could to try to pull this one out for the Blackbirds. He finished with his fifth double-double of the season and third in his last four games with 20 points and 15 rebounds. He has now gone nine straight games scoring at least 12 points.

RMU did an outstanding job guarding Martin Hermannsson who they were focused on not letting him get going. Hermannsson finished with ten points and was just 3 of 9 from the field including 1 of 5 from three.

“They did a good job on him.” said Perri. “He is our main three point shooter right now and some of these other guys have got to start making some shots.”

Trevin Woods had a solid game off the bench for LIU with ten points and four rebounds in 27 minutes. He knocked down a couple of three-pointers and got a couple of steals and was the most active player off the bench for the Blackbirds.

Trevin Woods putting home two of his ten points. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Trevin Woods putting home two of his ten points. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

“That was great to see Trevin do that.” praised Perri. “I thought he was starting to do some of that in the Central (Connecticut) game. I hoping that we can get to play the way he is capable of playing, that is going to help us.”

In the battle of the point guards, RMU’s Kavon Stewart outplayed LIU’s Aakim Saintil. Stewart finished with nine points and six assists to five turnovers although he was held to 3 of 11 from the field while Saintil finished with five points and three assists and committed a game-high seven turnovers. Saintil was held to 2 of 10 from the field. Each had four steals.

After an active first half, Joel Hernandez was held in check in the second half and finished with just seven points.

LIU have now lost two straight at the Steinberg Wellness Center and are now 1-2 in the NEC with St. Francis U. coming in Saturday afternoon. LIU has yet to win two straight games since their season opening three-game win streak back in November. They are back to .500 at 7-7 overall with the loss.

LIU just wasn’t the hungrier team against Robert Morris. RMU played with purpose all game long and unleashed some fury on the Blackbirds with some dunks and dagger threes that they are not going to like seeing when they watch the film.

They have to come into Saturday’s game with that type of hunger and desire that RMU came into this game with or else they are going to start falling into a hole in the NEC standings they don’t want to have to dig themselves out of.

It might be just game four of the conference season but LIU has a must-win game coming up Saturday especially as they get set to head back on the road for three more games after SFU game. They had a chance to have a solid week but now have to do all they can to get a split and not sink themselves out of the NEC race.

Comments

  1. Syncere Jenkins says:

    MESSAGE TO COACH PERRI : YOUR POINT GUARD HAKIM SANTIL # 20 IS OUT OF CONTROL !!! YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE THIS TEAM IF YOU KEEP ENABLING HIM . Santil for the record had 7 turn over’s and is not understanding that his job is to get everyone the ball , learn where they want it and understand the Team concept. I remember Bill Parcells sitting Phil Simms so he would learn No Turnovers and it worked .i would remember Parcells putting the fear of God in him if he turned the ball over .This alos worked with Drew Bledsoe , Tony Romo and Jeff Hosteller. So coach you need to change and i know you are stubborn and you think you know it all but you dont you are losing this team you are already down 3 games this year and you havent adjusted your defense ok let me help you your team isnt fast enough for the defensive switches one the point guard penetrates the paint .Saintil also doesnt play consistent defense and makes erratic passes and is constantly on the floor which will get him injured eventually. But this message is too you coach Perri , Why do you constantly substitute at the 17min mark at the start of every game ? Why can your first unit get into a flow and rhythm ? Why do you constantly take out players when they make mistakes but leave other’s in when they make the same mistake it is very noticeable that you do it and some yelled at you from the stands yesterday when you did it to Iverson Fleming a few times. This is a good team you have but your stubbornness to discipline , change and let the damn kids play free will hopefully get you FIRED !!! If i was you I would right a wrong by changing the point guard and let martin hermanson run the point since he is very honest in getting his teammates the ball .I would start Trevon Woods at the 2 and either his brother at the 3 or joel Hernadez and Frink at the 4 with Nana unfortunately at the 5. This unit given time to gel can open things up let them play let them create and maybe your job can be saved . I told you in the beginning that you were playing with Fools Gold and you would be exposed so you are being exposed so what you gonna do ? Do Nothing and trust me it will bite you YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!!

  2. Our offense seems to be 4 guys standing around and watching Aakim dribble–there is no movement—I think Hermanson should play the point—Also how many tings do we have to be beat off the dribble?

    • Thanks Stu as always! I’ll have to admit, I may have been wrong wanting to put Saintil in the starting lineup. Now to be fair, he did great his first three starts, averaged 20 ppg those three games. Since then, he has really struggled and he just hasn’t been the same player he was for the first nine games of the season. With that said, I still think he is the best option at the point. I know the offense has looked better lately with the ball in Hermannsson’s hand and him running the point but I personally want to see him shooting the ball more and driving into the lane and getting to the free throw line. I think you are doing the opposing defense a bit of favor making Hermannsson more of a distributor instead of making him one of the focal points of the offense. Saintil have to just play better. He needs to cut down the fouls and the turnovers and get back to attacking the rim and getting to the foul line and getting his teammates the ball at the right spots. He didn’t get to the line at all vs RMU. He just got to play under control more. When he does, he is one of the best point guards in the NEC. He proved it early on. He is got to get back on track or else, it might be time to put Fleming back in the starting lineup and let him come back off the bench where he excelled early on.

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