LIU Brooklyn’s offense in doldrums, sinks to 1-3 with home loss to Saint Francis U.

LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri feeling the frustration of a 1-3 to conference play with loss to SFU Saturday night. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri feeling the frustration of a 1-3 to conference play with loss to SFU Saturday night. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Not many people imagined LIU Brooklyn would start the NEC season 1-3 but here they are after yet another disappointing performance losing to Saint Francis U., 72-65, at the Steinberg Wellness Center Saturday afternoon.

“It was not a good weekend.” said LIU head coach Jack Perri after LIU’s third consecutive loss at the Steinberg Wellness Center. “I thought we played harder than we did against Robert Morris, now we got to play with an identity. Our identity is not to lose the glass by eleven.”

The Blackbirds struggled mightily to keep the Red Flash off the boards in particular on the defensive end in which SFU grabbed 13 offensive rebounds that led to fifteen second chance points. LIU was out-rebounded 40 to 29. 

LIU's Joel Hernandez going high for two of 13 points. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

LIU’s Joel Hernandez going high for two of 13 points. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

LIU got off to good start to the game. Their energy level was much better to start than it was against Robert Morris Thursday night. LIU led 12-8 to start but unfortunately for them, that would be their biggest lead of the entire game. The game stayed close through the first half and a Greg Brown jumper at the halftime buzzer gave the Red Flash a 32-30 going into the break.

Coming out of the locker room, SFU started off hot and went on a 14-0 run to take a 46-33 lead and LIU could get nothing going. After an Aakim Saintil three-point play to stop the run, LIU would score 20 of the next 28 points in the game to get within one of SFU with 5:48 left. But LIU wouldn’t get any closer as SFU promptly went on a 6-0 and built the lead back up to seven. LIU got the deficit back down to two with 48 seconds left but SFU sealed things at the free throw line with eight straight free throws made.

“Give Saint Francis credit, they blocked out, they played hard.” said Perri. “They came in, they came off a bad loss themselves that they felt they should have won and I knew they would come out hungry too. It is no different, we’re all in the same boat. Right now, I felt we competed but we have to get better. We just have to get better and I think we have good pieces.”

LIU was held to 40% shooting in the game and once again, couldn’t hit a good number of their three-pointers as they went 6 for 22 from three while allowing SFU to shot 47.2% and make 6 of 15 threes. Perri know his team can’t afford to struggle in the areas they are struggling if they want to succeed in conference play.

“If you going to shoot 40% and 27% (from three), you got to dominate the glass.” said Perri. “You got make sure you get the foul line. Our whole philosophy has gone to the garbage right now. There is not enough of a focus to it. It is back to basics, back again to watching film, seeing which guys can do what I’m asking to do and who is going to that to the best that they can and then you got to make shots. We got to get back to the gym and make shots because right now, our three-point shooting is woeful. We can’t shot in the twenties at home two games in a row. We have better shooters than that.”

Jerome Frink continued his strong play with 18 points and seven rebounds. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Jerome Frink continued his strong play with 18 points and seven rebounds. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Once again, it was Jerome Frink who led the charge for LIU offensively with 18 points and seven rebounds. He was an efficient 6 of 10 shooting from the field and made two of three from deep. Martin Hermannsson scored 17 for LIU and hit three threes and between these two guys, they made five of LIU’s six threes in the game. The rest of the team went 1 for 14 from behind the arc.

Joel Hernandez played well, he finished with 13 points on 6 of 12 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds along with two blocks and two steals. Nura Zanna finished with eight points and ten rebounds.

Aakim Saintil’s foul woes and bad shooting continued as he was 3 of 12 from the floor and missed all five of his three-point attempts. Saintil in his last six games is shooting 22% from the field and 16% from three. His stock is free falling after the awesome start to the season he had. It could be time to consider a move back off the bench for Saintil where he excelled earlier this season.

LIU’s bench was a total non-factor, going a combined 1 of 8 from the field for grand total of two points.

Trevin Woods, who had a good game for LIU versus RMU, re-aggravated his knee injury during pregame warmups Perri told me after the game and tried to give it a go and played two minutes but couldn’t really play. Julius van Sauers, who would be getting some valuable playing time if he was healthy, has now missed nine straight games with his high ankle sprain.

SFU moved to 3-1 with the win and join a five-way tie for first place with Mount St. Mary’s, Wagner, Bryant, and Fairleigh Dickinson at the top of the NEC standings at the end of this four-game in eight days sprint. Five players finished in double-digits with Greg Brown leading the way with 14 points. Ronnie Drinnon finished with sixth double-double and third straight with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

With this loss, LIU is now under .500 for the season at 7-8 and are 4-8 since starting the season 3-0. LIU has lost three of their last four home games including their last three at the Steinberg Wellness Center and are just 4-3 at home this season.

Here is the NEC standings through the first four games of the NEC season:

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 9.36.41 PM

LIU is in a three-way tie for seventh at 1-3, already two games back of the front runners. There is still plenty of season remaining and lot of time for LIU to get things together and climb back up in the standings but this is definitely not the start many people including myself envisioned the Blackbirds would get off to.

LIU now has to try to solve their woes on the road as they begin a tough three-game road trip that takes them to three of the five current first-place teams in Wagner (Thursday), Bryant (Saturday) and FDU (next Thursday). It could be an early sink or swim time for the Blackbirds. A bad road swing in the next week and a half could put LIU out of the top four running completely and begin to put them in danger of having to fight just to get into the NEC tournament in March.

A swarming SFU defense all over LIU's Martin Hermannsson. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

A swarming SFU defense all over LIU’s Martin Hermannsson. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

At 1-3, it may not yet be panic time but it could be time to make some lineup changes and shake things up a bit. I believe in what Jack Perri says. I think guys like Saintil, Fleming, the Woods twins need to step up and play better and shot better. These guys right now are not just missing on their perimeter shots, they are missing badly. They got to get in the gym and shot their way out of it or else, defenses are just going to continue to key on Frink and Hermannsson and collapse on them and force anyone else to beat them. Right now, that strategy is working and these guys have got to start making teams pay and take much better shots.

The climb back up will be a challenge and we will quickly see if this team sold us fools gold in non-conference play and are just not the team some of us thought they might be this season or they are actually a good team who are just struggling at the moment and are capable of playing up to their potential. The proof will show in the coming days.

Comments

  1. coach Perri has to understand that he’s responsible for the development of his players. and communicate to each player what’s their role will be in the game. From my point of view I see coach Perri taking players out at time for not apparent reason. A coach needs to earn the thrust of its players and give them confidence not take it away by taking them out of the game immediately after they make an mistake. Coach make the point guard pass the ball in order to start building teamwork

    • Syncere Jenkins says:

      Its obvious that your suggestion is from coaching 101 but im not sure he gets it its almost like he believes he is on the level of Coach K

  2. coach Perri has to understand that he’s responsible for the development of his players. and communicate to each player what’s their role will be in the game. From my point of view I see coach Perri taking players out at time for not apparent reason. A coach needs to earn the thrust of its players and give them confidence not take it away by taking them out of the game immediately after they make an mistake. Coach make the point guard pass the ball in order to start building teamwork ..

  3. Syncere Jenkins says:

    Maybe you guys are finally seeing the light !! i told you at the beginning of the season that the wins would be Fool’s Gold if Coach Perri did not address issues especially on Defense with the constant switching . But it seems he has more issue that have evolved into problems as well as team chemistry favoritism and playing players in the wrong positions and not using their strengths . Lets start with the embarrassing outburst from the Robert Morris game when fans started yelling at coach because he was taking players out that made mistakes(instantly) but left in guard hakim saintil as he kept turning the ball over time and time again enabling the guard to running the whole team and stop being selfish. But know he choose to ignore these issues as well as not identifying that defensively his team is not able to perform the defensive system he has installed because of their lack lateral movement on the switches. Coach Perri has designed an offensive that relies on 3 point shooting or just high percentage shooting but his players arent those type of shooters on a consistent basis. He has recruited too many players at the same positions and has players playing out of position and they arent able to give a great effort because thats not their strong suit . Can anyone share how many post up plays that this team runs and the post up player that it is run for is contstantly fumblin the ball or getting his shot blocked ? Also what coach takes on the mindset that he has to substitute in the 1st half 3mins into every game who does that and why ? Jerome Fink is the best player on the team there are no set plays for jerome at the end of the game but he puts the ball in to hermansons hand to lead the way and it is fink that can carry this team. But maybe its me , maybe i dont know what im talking about you have also two twin players that were top 20 players in texas and you have reduced them because you want them to fill a void that you dint recruit for meaning that they are shooting guards and small forward not power forwards. So Coach Perri is at a crossroad in which I have been warning all along that the championship years were not his teams they won in spite of him because of the coach that put them together .His record recruiting to this day is very poor and his stubbornness is coming back to bite them ,but the question is , is he willing to change a make the game simpler and fun for his players . Do that you may win and get your team back or keep doing what your doing and letting saintil ruin the team with ball hogging and selfish play in which more than likely you are weeks away from being FIRED !!! WE WILL SEE

  4. Michael Hernandez says:

    Hi Nelson,
    You are absolutely right the games this past weekend would provide some indication on how LIU would stack up in the conference. To me, it doesn’t look good. Coach Perri has problems and I don’t know if he can right the ship. In the NEC, as with any conference, winning at home is very important. So far, we haven’t defended our house.
    To me, all the preseason hype, the close wins and close loses in OOC has me believing that we’re legends in our own minds. Perhaps these grand expectations have masked the fact that maybe, just maybe, we’re overrated. That we’re just not that good. That other NEC teams, based on this hype, play up to us and we’re not good enough to impose our will and beat them.
    I do agree with you maybe some players should sit down with possible changes needed to rejuvenate our play. Now we shall see the ability of our coaching staff to make the needed adjustments.
    After these two games, Coach Perri can be upset at our play or maybe he now realizes, and hopefully keeps to himself, that we’re not that good. A good coach can only motivate a team to play up to its’ ability.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Be well,
    Mike Hernandez B’71

    • Hi Michael, thanks for all your comments of late. Thanks for continuing supporting the site. As to your comment, you and me are kind of on the same page on things. I can’t disagree that things right now don’t look for them. 1-3 with three tough road games coming up, they could be 1-6 in a couple of weeks. You are completely right they have to define home court, no good team can go far without dominating at home and they have failed to do so of late after a good start winning at home to start the season.
      Their biggest problem right now is they don’t have a consistent third option on offense behind Frink and Hermannsson, they are being out-hustled on the glass, and they are not defending the perimeter good enough along with their poor outside shooting.
      I agree with you also, I don’t know how Perri can fix this right now. All he can hope for is for guys who haven’t pulling their weight, to start playing better. Perri kind of eluded to it yesterday when I spoke with him after the game, there are guys who are just not playing to their strengths and doing what needs to be done to make this team better. Perri believes they are better than what they have shown. I still believe they are still a good team but they got to get back to going the things they were doing well earlier in the season. They have to shoot better. Right now, if Frink, Hermannsson, or Hernandez isn’t shooting the ball, you have little faith the shot is going to go in the basket.

%d bloggers like this: