The LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team on Monday afternoon completed the three games in three days Steve Wright Classic event up at Boston University and for the Blackbirds, it was a rather successful trip as they went 2-1.
On Saturday, LIU defeated Northeastern, 78-74, as the Blackbirds came back from a 12-point second half deficit. They were led by freshman guard Jashaun Agosto who scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half. Fellow freshman point guard Julian Batts scored a season-high 13 points and Jerome Frink (11 pts, 10 rebs) and Nura Zanna (10 pts, 10 rebs) both finished with double-doubles. The win gave LIU a 3-0 start which was the first time since the 1982-83, 1983-84 seasons in which the Blackbirds started out 3-0 in back-to-back seasons.
On Sunday, LIU were looking for their first 4-0 start to the season since the 2010-11 season but were handled by the host school Boston University, 86-69, as the Terriers led wire-to-wire. Poor first half shooting along with hot shooting from deep all game long for Boston U. gave LIU their first loss of the season. Jashaun Agosto once again led LIU in scoring with 15 points with Jerome Frink adding in 14 points. Freshman guards Julian Batts and Ashtyn Bradley each scored nine points.
Monday afternoon, LIU in front of crowd of just 52 people, defeated Maine, 71-66, as the Blackbirds had to stave off a late Maine comeback that saw a 17-point second half lead shrink all the way down to three with eleven seconds left. Senior guard Iverson Fleming exploded for a career-high 26 points on 6 of 11 shooting including a perfect 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Jashaun Agosto and Jerome Frink each finished with 13 points. LIU went 31 for 35 as a team from the free throw line and only allowed Maine to shoot 15 free throws in the game which ended up proving to be the difference.
With the 2-1 trip to Boston, LIU is now off to 4-1 start which is their best five-game start since the 2010-11 season.
Here are a few observations from this past weekend:
– Jashaun Agosto had himself a great first full week, and for now, looks like he may have cemented himself as the starting point guard for the Blackbirds for the foreseeable future. Before their game versus Maine, Agosto was named NEC Rookie of the Week where he averaged 15.7 points, 2.3 rpg and 2.3 apg while making six of ten from beyond the three-point arc. Agosto is currently second on the team in scoring at 12.6 ppg and has a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio through his first five collegiate games. He has made 54 percent of his three-point attempts so far.
– With the 4-1 start to the season, LIU has been fortunate not to yet feel the impact of the loss of Joel Hernandez. LIU head coach Perri has been using a steady rotation of three guys at Hernandez’s position, Raul Frias, Julius van Sauers and Raiquan Clark. Frias has gotten the starts in Hernandez’s place since he went down but has yet to take advantage of the opportunity as he is shooting just 28 percent from the field and is 2 of 16 from three. van Sauers is shooting even worse at 19 percent and is 3 of 12 from three.
– Raiquan Clark has been a surprising bright spot for the Blackbirds. The sophomore walk-on has been doing a nice job with the playing he has been getting so far. Clark is average just over 15 minutes per game is fifth on the team in both scoring and rebounding. He is making 60 percent of his shots and so far is a perfect 10 for 10 from the foul line.
– It is still early but so far LIU looks to shooting the three ball a little bit better than they did last season. LIU has made 34 percent of their threes as a team through the first five games.
– LIU has been doing a nice job on the offensive glass. Against Northeastern, LIU were +10 on the offensive boards and just -1 against a bigger Boston U. team. LIU has gotten an offensive rebound on 42.5 percent of their misses so far.
– A couple of things they need to get better at as the non-conference season moves along is reducing their turnovers and cutting down on the number of fouls they have been committing. The fouling has really been an issue in the early going. They’ve committed 27 personal fouls against Northeastern and 25 versus Maine. They are averaging nearly 22 fouls per game.
LIU Brooklyn will be in action on Saturday as their seven-game road trip continue as they head back to Massachusetts to face UMass Lowell in a game that can be seen live on ESPN3.