LIU Brooklyn blows out D3 John Jay but may have paid a big price

LIU Brooklyn opened their season with a dominating win over Division III John Jay. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

LIU Brooklyn opened their season with a dominating win over Division III John Jay. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

The game pretty much went as expected for the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds in the season opener Friday night at the Steinberg Wellness Center as they took on Division III John Jay College from Manhattan.

After John Jay scored the opening two points of the game, the Blackbirds followed with a 15-0 run and from then on were on their way to a easy 78-40 victory to start their season 1-0.

But what should have been a postgame full of laughs and smiles after a 38-point win was nothing but.

That is because with 4:43 remaining in the game and LIU up by 38 points, senior guard Joel Hernandez suffered a dislocated thumb in his right hand and was in tremendous pain and in tears as the LIU trainers gathered around him, trying to and eventually popping his thumb back into place after several agonizing minutes.

#11 Joel Hernandez sitting on the court in tremendous pain after dislocating his right thumb. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

#11 Joel Hernandez sitting on the court in tremendous pain after dislocating his right thumb. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

“His thumb popped out.” said LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri of Hernandez’s injury, who appeared distraught after coming out of the locker room after the game. “(The LIU trainers) want to do an X-ray and make sure there is nothing torn, no fracture of some sort. Obviously, prayers for him. We don’t want anything to happen to our big gun there. He just landed on it. It was a freakish thing.”

The freak thumb injury happened as Hernandez was coming down on the receiving end of an alley oop pass from freshman point guard Jashaun Agosto. Hernandez was fouled on the play and came down on his hand and dislocated the thumb.

“(The starters) wanted to go out for one more stint and I was like ‘that’s fine’.” said Perri. “I wanted it to be like two minutes and that was it, just to get up and down a little bit more and now I’m regretting that.”

Before the freak injury to Hernandez, the game which was an odd one to begin with because the game for LIU counted for them while it was just an exhibition game for John Jay and didn’t mean anything to the Bloodhounds, was pretty much a laughter from the opening tip.

Perri got all thirteen of his players who dressed in by the 6:13 mark of the first half as LIU had a nineteen-point lead by that point.

Joel Hernandez (L) and Jerome Frink (R) led LIU with 17 point apiece. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Joel Hernandez (L) and Jerome Frink (R) led LIU with 17 point apiece. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

The Blackbirds was just bigger, stronger and faster then their Division III counterparts. Hernandez and senior forward Jerome Frink was just way too much for John Jay to handle. LIU went into the locker room at the half up by twenty-four and came out of the break on a 19-3 run to take their largest lead of the game of forty.

Frink finished with his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 16 rebounds in just 25 minutes as John Jay had no one their team that could match up with him.

Hernandez also scored 17 points in 23 minutes as he went 8 of 12 from the field. Hernandez prior to his injury looked like the player everyone expected him to be this season. A player that is expected to come in as a senior and do a little bit of everything. As promised, Perri put him at the point guard for several minutes and let him dribble up the floor and quarterback the LIU offense.

The rest of the scoring was spread out among the rest of the LIU team as twelve of the thirteen player found their way into the scorebook including five players scoring their first career collegiate points.

“I wanted execution. We executed just okay in our offense.” said Perri. “Some of our guys did a little more one-on-one that what I would’ve like to have seen execution-wise with our offense. I thought our guys pretty much played unselfish.”

Freshman point guards Jashaun Agosto (L) and Julian Batts (R) made their LIU debuts Friday night. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

Freshman point guards Jashaun Agosto (L) and Julian Batts (R) made their LIU debuts Friday night. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

Before the game, the big question was who was going to start at the point for LIU. Freshman Jashaun Agosto was given the starting assignment in his first college game and played fifteen minutes and scored three points, all from the charity stripe. Fellow freshman point guard Julian Batts came off the bench and played solidly, equaling Agosto’s production of three points in fifteen minutes. They both combined for four assists and just one turnover.

LIU shot 43 percent from the floor and were 6 of 22 from three but had at least four or five threes rim in and out as the Blackbirds had open shots from deep practically all night long.

The Blackbirds held John Jay to twenty-five percent shooting and out-rebounded them by twenty and forced sixteen turnovers. They held the Bloodhounds to 0.58 points per possession (40 points/69 possessions).

Senior Glenn Feidanga was out for LIU and did not dress and quite frankly, he wasn’t needed for this one.

Now, Perri and LIU have to wait for news on Hernandez’s injury. If Hernandez is found to have torn ligaments or a fracture in his thumb, it is quite likely he is going to be out for a long period of time and worst case scenario, he could miss the rest of this season. Hopefully for Hernandez, he can return sooner rather than later but it will be hard to imagine him playing Wednesday night when LIU take on Loyola (Md.) at the Barclays Center.

Perri will have to start looking at other options at the three if Hernandez is out for any lengthy period of time. Sophomore forward Julius van Sauers, who was the only Blackbird not to score in this game, could be the first option but we have to wait and see.

One game into the LIU Brooklyn season and the monkey wrench already might have been thrown into Jack Perri’s plan. Time to wait and see what the news is on the Hernandez front and how that will impact their season.

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