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

 

About the Opponent

Previous Game: Loss vs Wagner, 83-57
KenPom Rank: 351
Meeting History: 39th all-time meeting. LIU Brooklyn leads the series, 20-19. LIU won the previous meeting this season at CCSU, 67-55. LIU has won the last three straight in the series and nine of the last ten meetings. 

High Scorer: Austin Niels, Guard, Fr., 11.5 ppg

High Rebounder: Brandon Peel, Forward, Sr., 8.8 rpg

High Assist man: Khalen Cumberlander, Guard, Jr., 2,8 apg

Starting Probables

Central Connecticut:

G – Khalen Cumberlander
G – Austin Niehls
G – Kevin Seymour
F – Mustafa Jones
F – Brandon Peel

LIU Brooklyn:

G – Aakim Saintil
G – Martin Hermannsson
G – Joel Hernandez
F – Nura Zanna
F – Jerome Frink

CCSU Scouting Report

It’s been another long, tough season for the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. CCSU have been officially eliminated from participating in this season’s NEC tournament for the second season in the row.

Last Thursday, CCSU head coach Howie Dickenman announced his retirement effective at the end of the season after twenty years as the Blue Devils’ head coach. Before the official postgame announcement by Dickenman, CCSU won just their fourth game of the season in upsetting Mount St. Mary’s 76-72 at home.

CCSU enters the game versus LIU Brooklyn ranked dead last in the nation in Kenpom. They are ranked 331st in offensive efficiency and 349th in defensive efficiency. They enter the game ranked ninth among NEC teams in scoring offense and defense. They have been outscored by an average of 13.6 points per game this season.

The Blue Devils have shot just under 40 percent from the field this season. In NEC play, they are shooting 42.8 percent from two which is last in the conference.

The college career of senior forward Brandon Peel will come to an end after this week. Peel is having career highs in points per game this season at 11.2 points per game while on pace to either match or slightly surpass his career-high rebounding average of 8.8 rebounds per game from last season. Peel will likely finish his career just shy of 1000 points as he enters his final weekend with 921 career points.

Freshman guard Austin Niels leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 11.5 points per game and is ninth in the NEC is three-point shooting percentage at 36.5 percent. He makes 2.3 threes per game. I believe he will end up on the NEC All-Rookie team.

Junior point guard Khalen Cumberlander is tied for second on the team in scoring at 11.2 points per game. He still leads the team in assists at 2.8 assists per game. He is shooting just 23.9 percent from three this season in 92 attempts.

It will be interesting to see how this program moves forward past this offseason. They will begin searching for their new head coach and we’ll find out how many of these CCSU young guys will decide to stick around with the coaching change or plan on moving on to another program.

This program looks like one that will be heading for a couple of more down years before things start turning back up in the right direction. They have some good players in the program so if they decide to stay, it could help speed up the rebuilding process but it is going to be a few years I feel before we see a competitive CCSU team once again competing for a NEC championship.

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Opponent: Bryant

Conference: NEC
Current Record: 7-22, 4-12 NEC
Tip: 4:30 PM
Where: Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, NY

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

Starting Probables

Bryant:

G – Shane McLaughlin
G – Hunter Ware
G – Nisre Zouzoua
F – Marcel Pettway
F – Dan Garvin

Bryant Scouting Report

The last time LIU Brooklyn saw Bryant back on January 16th, the Bulldogs were 4-1 in the NEC and tied for first in the conference standings. Since that meeting, the Bulldogs’ season took a dramatic down turn. They lost to LIU in that first meeting back in Smithfield and that loss was the first of eleven straight losses coming into their final weekend of action.

With LIU’s win last Saturday at SFU, Bryant were officially eliminated from NEC tournament contention and will miss the NEC tournament for the first time since becoming a full-fledge member of the conference after making their first NEC tournament back in 2013.

Why did their season hit the skids after a promising start in NEC play? They just couldn’t score enough points offensively and couldn’t stop anyone defensively to maintain their hot start.

After starting NEC play scoring over a point per possession in three of their first four games, all wins, Bryant only scored above a point per possession in only two of their next twelve games going into their final two games. After scoring 80 or more points in three of their first four games, also all wins, they have scored above 70 points just three times since and lost those three games as well. They have averaged 62.5 points per game in their eleven game losing streak while allowing 75.6 points per game.

They are ninth in NEC scoring efficiency at 95.8 points per 100 possessions and eighth in NEC defensive scoring efficiency at 107.5 points per 100 possessions.

The Bulldogs don’t get to the free throw line too often. They are 346th in the nation in free throw-to-field goal percentage at 26.8 percent and when they get to the line they only shot it at a 63.9 percent clip, 336th in the nation. They also, like many NEC teams this season, aren’t very good from three. They shoot the three at 30.9 percent clip from downtown.

Although, this will go down as a lost senior season for guys like Shane McLaughlin (7.8 ppg) and Curtis Oakley (4.7 ppg), there is hope for the future of this program with players like sophomore Hunter Ware (13.1 ppg), who leads the team in scoring, steals and three-point shooting percentage as well as junior forward Dan Garvin (10.2 ppg). Also, they gave a lot of playing to two likely All-NEC Rookie Team guys in guard Nisre Zouzoua (11.9 ppg) and Marcel Pettway (11.0 ppg) who are second and third respectively in team scoring. Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea will build around these three underclassmen heading into next season to try to get them back to NEC contention.

What to know about LIU from their last game

– LIU Brooklyn defeated Saint Francis U on the road, 94-89, in overtime. The win gave LIU and 2-1 record on their final three-game regular season road trip.

– LIU had three players finish with 20 or more points and become the first NEC team this season to have three 20+ scorers in a game.

– Martin Hermannsson finished with a team-high 25 points along with eight rebounds and six assists. It was his eighth straight game with at least 17 points.

– Jerome Frink finished with ninth double-double of the season with 21 points and ten rebounds.

– Aakim Saintil scored 20 points in the victory. His sixth 20+ scoring game of the season.

– The win kept LIU in seventh-place in the NEC standings and also kept them in position to possibly finish with a top four seed with two games remaining.

– LIU, depending on how they do this week along with a few favorable results from the remaining NEC games, can finish as high as a three-seed but can also finish as an eight-seed if they lose both games this week.

KenPom Predictions: (vs CCSU) LIU Brooklyn, 85-69; (vs Bryant) LIU Brooklyn, 81-67

Next Game: LIU Brooklyn will find out who and where they will play for the first round of the Northeast Conference tournament which will begin on Wednesday, March 2nd, after all the games have been played on Saturday and the seeding have been finalized. LIU can finish anywhere between a 3-seed to an 8-seed. Tip times have yet to be announced.

Comments

  1. Mike Rancourt says:

    Good breakdown of the games. One correction, Dan Garvin is a junior for Bryant, not a senior.

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