Blackbirds falls to Robert Morris, fall to 8th in NEC standing with three games left

It was a game both teams fought hard to get with LIU Brooklyn sitting in seventh and Robert Morris sitting in eighth with four games remaining in the conference season. Ultimately, a 12-2 run in the last three minutes of the game, spelled doom for the Blackbirds in a 74-67 loss to Robert Morris Thursday evening at the Sewall Center.

LIU Brooklyn actually did very well in the first half to take a one-point halftime lead as they were besieged by the officials whistle. LIU was called for nine first half fouls that left Nura Zanna, Jerome Frink, Trevin Woods with two fouls each and Glenn Feidanga with three fouls in three minutes. Frink played only ten minutes in the first half due to the foul woes. 

Yet, LIU was able to hang in with the Colonials. Zanna had a strong first half with seven points and six rebounds in playing 17 minutes and managing not to pick up a third first half foul.

LIU Brooklyn turned the ball over like a hot potato in the second half. They committed eleven of their nineteen turnovers in the second half and RMU took full advantage. The Colonials finished with 27 points off of turnovers in the game.

Robert Morris was also about to take advantage of LIU going small in the second half due to the front court foul trouble. The Colonials finished with 40 points in the paint.

Yet, it was a nip and tuck game through most of the second half with neither team getting more than a five-point lead. There were eleven second half lead changes and four ties until RMU went on a 12-2 run with 3:02 remaining to seal the game.

LIU went 0 for 3 with two turnovers in that RMU 12-2 run in the final minutes. Trevin Woods missed a pair of threes that would have either tied the game or got LIU back within one possession. RMU went a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the final minute to close the door.

RMU shot 53 percent in the second half and went to the free throw line 16 times, making 14 of their free throws. RMU also only committed eight turnovers, with just three of those turnovers committed in the second half, to LIU’s 19 which was a recipe for success for them in the first meeting in Brooklyn as well.

Robert Morris had four players finish in double digits with lock All-NEC first teamer Rodney Pryor leading the way with 24 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds for the Colonials. Freshman guard Steven Whitley had himself a career-night with 16 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field. Kavon Stewart finished with 13 points and 8 assists and one turnover along with three steals. Billy Giles scored 11.

With the win, RMU now clinches a spot into the NEC tournament and due to winning both head-to-head meeting against LIU, overtakes them into seventh place in the NEC standing as both teams are now 7-8 with RMU owning the tiebreaker.

The Blackbirds were led by Martin Hermannsson’s 18 points although five of those points came in the final 31 seconds with the game seemingly in hand for Robert Morris. Iverson Fleming had himself a good game with 12 points on 3 of 4 shooting including a perfect 2 for 2 from downtown in 24 minutes off the bench. Joel Hernandez finished with 10 points.

RMU snapped Jerome Frink’s double-figure scoring streak at 20 straight games, holding him to nine points as he played just 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Aakim Saintil played in just 24 minutes and scored six points. He played in only six minutes in the second half as LIU Brooklyn head coach stuck with Iverson Fleming at the point guard for the majority of the second half.

LIU’s streak of games scoring over 1.0 points per possession was snapped at six as LIU was held to 0.943 points per possession. Also, their defensive streak of holding their opponent under a point per possession was stopped at two as they allowed 1.139 points per possession.

LIU had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers as three of the four first-place teams, who were two games ahead of LIU when the night began, lost. Mount, SFU and FDU all lost, leaving Wagner at the top of the NEC standings at 10-5 with three games remaining. A win would have pulled LIU a game behind the three teams and kept LIU two games behind Wagner with three to go with LIU holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks.

Yet, LIU still has a mathematical chance at getting themselves a top-four seed if they can win out the rest of the way and have some more helpful results fall in their favor. LIU only holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Wagner of the teams in the top eight, who ironically if the season ended today, they would face them in the first round. They have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to FDU and RMU and have a head-to-head split against the other three teams.

LIU now has to move forward and try to get a split out of their Western Pennsylvania trip and get a split from SFU. No doubt that game on Saturday is going to be another tough battle as LIU looks to close their regular season road schedule with an important victory and see where they are when the dust settles Saturday evening.

Comments

  1. Michael Hernandez says:

    Nelson,
    Turnovers–LIU 19, RMU 8, points off turnovers–LIU 6, RMU 24, points in the paint–LIU 24, RMU 40.
    That’s the ball game.
    Michael Hernandez

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