2016 BHJ’s NEC Postseason Awards

This season was a season of transition for the Northeast Conference. Nine of the fifteen players who were selected on the three All-NEC teams last season were seniors including the entire All-NEC first team.

With that, new opportunities emerged and the spotlight began shining on players who never previously got the playing time or were in the shadows of talented upperclassmen on their teams.

Now, that the 18-game, two-month grind that is the NEC regular season is now over, it is once again time to hand out our annual imaginary awards and recognized those here at Blackbirds Hoops Journal feel should get the recognition for a season of outstanding play for their teams. [Read more…]

LIU Brooklyn WBB gets a berth into NEC Tournament coincidentally on Senior Day

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How fitting for this season’s LIU Brooklyn team to seal their ticket into next week’s NEC Tournament by getting a spot on Senior Day.

The LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball team (8-20, 6-11 in the NEC) clinched their spot right before halftime of their game against Bryant on Saturday when Mount St. Mary’s defeated St. Francis Brooklyn thus eliminating the Terriers and putting the Blackbirds into the field of eight.

“Being down numbers with the injuries, new coaching staff, everything that we went through. I’m really proud that we made it.” said LIU Brooklyn women’s basketball head coach Stephanie Oliver.

LIU Brooklyn came back from a slow start in which they started the game 1 for 11 from the field and saw them down by as much as ten points in the first quarter to briefly tie the game at 27 in the third quarter. After that, the bigger and deeper Bryant team took over. The Bulldogs outscored LIU in the third quarter 19-9 to pull away and defeated the Blackbirds on their senior day, 62-53. [Read more…]

Blackbirds fall short in their season finale, end up finishing as the 6-seed

#2 Nisre Zouzoua of Bryant, saved his best for last, with a career-high 29 points in Bryant's 88-83 win over LIU Brooklyn. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

#2 Nisre Zouzoua of Bryant, saved his best for last, with a career-high 29 points in Bryant’s 88-83 win over LIU Brooklyn. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

With LIU Brooklyn needing just one more win to end the season off on a high note heading into next week’s Northeast Conference Tournament, the Blackbirds had to use a furious comeback to get one final chance of sending the game into overtime but fell short in their 88-83 loss to Bryant on Saturday afternoon at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

Bryant used a pair of 12-0 run, one in the first half, the other that carried over into the start of the second half, to build a lead as high as sixteen on the Blackbirds. [Read more…]

LIU Brooklyn MBB final game NEC Tournament seeding scenarios

Last night, LIU Brooklyn defeated Central Connecticut, 80-74, at go to 9-8 on the season in the Northeast Conference with one more game remaining tomorrow against Bryant at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

Like I mentioned in the game recap from last night, the NEC this morning put out updated seeding scenarios for all eight teams including LIU Brooklyn. Here is a nifty, easy-to-use chart put together by NEC Associate Commissioner Ron Ratner after last night’s contests: [Read more…]

LIU Brooklyn did just enough to get by Central Connecticut in 80-74 win

LIU Brooklyn's Iverson Fleming beating the CCSU defense for two of his 14 points Thursday night. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

LIU Brooklyn’s Iverson Fleming beating the CCSU defense for two of his 14 points Thursday night. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Pretty, it was not. But LIU Brooklyn was able to get the job done in beating Central Connecticut State at the Steinberg Wellness Center Thursday night, 80-74, to keep their hopes at a top four finish alive for Saturday’s season finale.

LIU Brooklyn looked like they would pull away from CCSU at the start of the second half as they scored the first eight points to go along with the final seven points of the first half to build a fifteen-point lead which was their largest lead of the game.  [Read more…]

LIU Gameday Preview – Games 28 and 29 – Central Connecticut and Bryant

Game Info

Opponent: Central Connecticut

Conference: NEC
Current Record: 4-23, 3-13 NEC
Tip: 7:00 PM
Where: Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY

Broadcast: NEC Front Row
Live Stats: www.liuathletics.com

LIU Brooklyn splits Western PA road trip with overtime thriller at Saint Francis U.

It’s never easy going on the road to Western Pennsylvania but having to go out there late in the Northeast Conference season and needing to come back to Brooklyn with at least a win was the task at hand for LIU Brooklyn.

After losing a tough one on Thursday night to Robert Morris, LIU Brooklyn showed major grit and perseverance in getting a huge 94-89 overtime win at Saint Francis U. Saturday afternoon. The win clinches LIU the final spot in the field of eight for the NEC tournament.

The Blackbirds led for just under three minutes of total game time in the first half during the first four minutes of the game. That was it prior to the game going to overtime.

LIU had to fight from behind the majority of this game and came back from twelve points in the second half and down seven with 4:32 to go in regulation to force overtime. LIU can thank to a switch to a zone defense by LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri midway through the second half that helped slow down SFU scoring attack and got LIU within striking distance to make the comeback.

LIU forced overtime thanks to a 11-4 run in that final 4:32, capped off by a tough left-handed Joel Hernandez layup with 20.2 seconds remaining to tie the game at 80. SFU missed two late chances to win the game in regulation including an open layup chance by Basil Thompson who shot it hard and wide.

The Blackbirds started the overtime period on a 11-4 run including nine straight LIU points scored by both Martin Hermannsson and Aakim Saintil which helped put the game away. Hermannsson and Saintil scored the last twelve of LIU’s fourteen overtime points. LIU was also near-perfect in the overtime session, going 4 of 4 from the field including a big three by Saintil and 5 of 6 from the foul line to clinch the victory. LIU held SFU to 4 of 10 shooting in overtime. LIU was also fortunate in the fact that SFU didn’t have Josh Nebo who had six blocks or Ronnie Drinnon who had a tremendous game, had fouled out.

LIU’s starting five scored 89 of their 94 points. LIU as a team shot over 51 percent from the field and nearly 43 percent from three. The Blackbirds offense recovered their tough scoring night on Thursday versus RMU by scoring 1.168 points per possession on 80 possessions. They also held SFU to 43 percent from the field and 11 of 30 from three. LIU also scored 52 of their points from in the paint.

LIU had three players score over 20 points for them, becoming the first NEC team this season to have three guys score 20 or more in a game this season. Martin Hermannsson finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. He scored seven of his 25 in overtime. He has finished with 20 or more points six times this season and five times in his last eight games. Jerome Frink finished 21 points and 10 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season and eighth 20-plus scoring game of the season. Aakim Saintil finished with 20 points, including five big points in overtime. It was his sixth 20-plus game of the season.

Joel Hernandez got his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Nura Zanna just missed a double-double of his own with 12 points and 9 rebounds.

SFU were led by senior Ronnie Drinnon on SFU Senior Day. He finished with a career-high 28 points in the losing effort before fouling out in the final minute of the second half. He had a tremendous first half with 15 points. SFU has now lost three straight and pretty much killed their chances at a number one seed to the upcoming NEC tournament.

LIU finish their final three-game road trip at 2-1 and end their regular season road record at very respectable 7-8. They are now 8-8 in the NEC with two home games remaining on the regular season schedule. With the loss on Saturday by Robert Morris, LIU regains the seven-seed in the NEC standings. The Blackbirds still remain one game behind a group of three teams in FDU, SFU and St. Francis Brooklyn, all at 9-7 and tied for fourth-place.

LIU now returns home for the final week of the regular season and will face Central Connecticut and Bryant, the two teams who are both officially eliminated from NEC tournament contention and will look to play spoiler.

Although, LIU still mathematically can get themselves into the top four seed with two wins the final two games, they are going to need several results from the other games go their way. Yet, it is still a possibility.

The thing now for the Blackbirds is to end the season off strong and not worry about where they land since they don’t have their own control for the top four. LIU has won three of four and four of their last six. They have a strong chance of finishing off the regular season on a high and with momentum going into the NEC tournament. If LIU can finish off this season right and get a favorable first round matchup, whether on the road or at home, I wouldn’t be surprised if things get really interesting for them first week of March.

The madness time is approaching. Things are going to get crazy and fun I believe. Let’s get ready to witness it all.