Time to introduce everyone to the new LIU Brooklyn killer. His name is Darian Anderson and he plays for Fairleigh Dickinson.
For the second time in nine days, Darian Anderson and his ability to step up when his team needed him to do so, scored the game-winning basket on a baseline fallaway jumper with 17.9 seconds remaining to give FDU a 88-85 victory over the Blackbirds on Saturday afternoon at the Steinberg Wellness Center in front of their biggest home crowd of the season for LIU Brooklyn Hall of Fame Day and thus take the season sweep over the Blackbirds.
“Our guys have to figure it out.” said an very unhappy LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri after the loss. “They have to stay together. They have to keep their poise. There are a lot of games to be played. This is a difficult loss.”
LIU Brooklyn have had a problem nearly all season long putting any kind of win streak together and building any kind of momentum. The Blackbirds are now 3-7 in games following a win with two of those wins coming back in November. They have had just two win streaks of at least two games so far this season.
LIU got off to a slow start where they were down eight, six minutes into the game. They would later go down by as much as ten as Darian Anderson was getting himself and his team off to a fast start. The Blackbirds were able to get back in it with a 10-0 run that would knot the game up at 29 and LIU would outscored FDU by eight in the closing six minutes of the first half to trail FDU by just one at the break.
After some back and forth over the first ten minutes of the second half, FDU would gain some separation and get up by as much as five on three occasions. After the third occasion, LIU would once again use a 10-0 run, this time to go up by five with two minutes remaining. FDU would close the game on a 10-2 run but no two points bigger than the Anderson game-winning jumper.
LIU could have a had a shot at hail mary game-winner with two seconds remaining but Jerome Frink throw the ball directly out of bounds trying to hit Martin Hermannsson with a pass as he was coming across the court.
“We were not sharp early on and that is where it started. We did not defend well.” said Perri. “They’re a talented group but we were not focused defensively and that was it. That’s why it was a game. Then again in the second half, we made plays, we get up and they make more plays. That was a better job by them then it was us. We got to get better.”
The new LIU killer, Anderson, hit his average against LIU with his 21 points and also dished out seven assists on 5 of 14 shooting but he was a perfect 9 for 9 from the foul line. Anderson scored 53 points in two games against LIU this season.
FDU also got 18 points from Marques Townes, a career-high 16 points from freshman Ghassan Nehme who hit four three-pointers. Mike Holloway finished with 12 on 6 of 7 shooting as the Knights are now tied at the top of the NEC standing along with Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s at 7-4.
Martin Hermannsson led the Blackbirds with 21 points and 7 assists. He was a perfect 3 for 3 from three but uncharacteristically missed three free throws in this game, the only game his missed three free throws this season for the 87.5 percent free throw shooter.
Trevin Woods had a good game for LIU with 17 points. Jerome Frink finished with his second straight double-double and seventh overall with 12 points and 10 rebounds although he was held scoreless in the first half after picking up two fouls in eleven minutes of play. Frink also led LIU with five turnovers. Aakim Saintil scored 12 but was 1 of 9 from the field. His damage came from the foul line where he was 10 of 12. He also had six assists and four turnovers. Joel Hernandez scored 11.
The Blackbirds for the fifth time in their last seven games allowed over a point per possession defensively as FDU scored 1.143 points/possession (88 points/78 possessions). The top two points per possessions allowed defensively in conference play came against FDU.
With the loss, LIU falls to 4-6 in NEC play and are back under .500 overall at 10-11. They are also 3-5 at the Steinberg Wellness Center this season as they are now 1-2 on their four-game home stand with Mount St. Mary’s, who lost to Wagner at home on Saturday, coming to Brooklyn Thursday to close out the home stand.
Think about this, LIU has scored 95, 92 and 85 points in three out of their last four games and just 1-2 in those games. Their defensive effort is absolutely hurting them. Their offensive game looks like it is right where they want to be but they can’t make a big stop or create a big turnover when they need most during conference play.
There are now eight games remaining in the regular season, four at home and four on the road. Right now, they are two games back of fourth-place Saint Francis U. as far as first-round home court advantage goes for the NEC tournament. They are in a three-way tie for seventh in the NEC along with Robert Morris and Bryant.
It is going to take LIU to go at least 6-2 or even 7-1 over the last eight games to climb over most of the teams in front of them and get up to a top four position. That is quite a daunting task for a team that hasn’t been able to put a string of wins together for much of the season and seem to be missing that refuse-to-lose mentality that great teams always seem to have. That doesn’t seem to be in this team’s DNA this season.
With no seniors, there is no one on that roster who is going to crack the whip and get on their teammates to play better because this is their last go-around. There seems to be no desperation. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the way but I’m no longer buying this team will make any sort of noise this season. It’s a shame because this team has the talent, just not the will.