Blackbirds win in overtime at UMass Lowell, off to best start in 34 years!

In a game that featured eight ties and eleven lead changes, it was LIU Brooklyn who was able to prevail in overtime as the Blackbirds defeated UMass Lowell, 82-78, and with the victory, start the season 5-1 which is their best six-game start to the season since starting 5-1 back in the 1982-83 season.

LIU Brooklyn really got their bigs involved especially in the second half and into overtime, getting huge games from their starting front court of Nura Zanna and Jerome Frink.

Zanna got his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds on 6 of 9 shooting. Frink played his best game since the season opener and put the team on his broad shoulders. He finished with a season-high 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds, just missing out on his third double-double of the season. Frink went 11 of 18 from the field including draining a pair of three-pointers. 

The Blackbirds were nearly put down by the hot shooting of UMass Lowell senior Tyler Livingston who scored a career-high 27 points, 22 of those coming in a red-hot first half in which he went 8 for 10 and made 6 of 7 threes.

After being down six to start the game, LIU would come back and eventually take a seven-point lead in the first half after a pair of monstrous dunks by Nura Zanna. The River Hawks would close the first half on a 21-8 run to take a 44-38 lead at the half.

LIU would fall down by as much as nine in the second half but they would go on a 18-6 run to regain the lead.

UMass Lowell would eventually tie the game at 68 with 43 seconds remaining and after a Frink missed three, had the ball to try and win in it regulation. After a UMass Lowell timeout with five seconds remaining, Iverson Fleming would get a steal from Isaac White and send the game into overtime.

LIU would get big plays from Iverson Fleming, Frink and Zanna along with help of a couple of missed front ends of one-and-one free throws by UMass Lowell and then another missed free throw with five seconds left to help LIU close it out and get their first true road win of the season.

The Blackbirds struggled defensively in the first half as they allowed UMass Lowell to shoot 57 percent from the floor and gave up many open looks from deep as the River Hawks took full advantage, especially Tyler Livingston, making 6 of 10 from outside the arc. LIU did a better job in the second half and overtime, holding Livingston to just 5 points after halftime and the team to just 3 of 11 from deep.

Iverson Fleming after a career-high 27 points against Maine on Monday afternoon, made some key shots when LIU needed it and finished with 16 points including 3 of 4 from three and also handed out five assists.

LIU got nice games out of both Julius van Sauers and Raiquan Clark off the bench. van Sauers finished with eight points on a perfect 3 for 3 from the floor while Clark scored six, making both his field goal attempts.

Jashaun Agosto struggled with his shot going 2 for 10, scoring just six points but he played 39 minutes and had three assists and three turnovers. Julian Batts scored six in fifteen minutes off the bench.

UMass Lowell’s leading scorer Jahad Thomas finished with 21 points as they fall to 2-5 on the season. LIU swept the home-and-home series from UMass Lowell who had never previously played one another until last season.

LIU out-rebounded UMass Lowell by nine and didn’t allow they to score a single fast break point in the game. LIU also outscored them in the paint, 48-30.

The Blackbirds will return to New England one last time in this five-game road stretch, with a visit up to Hartford to play the Hawks on Wednesday night. LIU is now 3-1 on their seven-game road trip.


  1. Notice the cry that things were oh so wrong in LIU land is gone? I wonder why that is?


    Very happy for the team and this group of kids. They play hard for the most part, and play together for the most part. Tough qualities to find these days.

    Hope they can get this one, then you never know about the next four. Might be tough but if they can get to 8 wins in non-league that’s a heckuva start to the season.

  2. Michael Hernandez'71 says:

    Oh, Nelson!!
    We are playing as a team that knows how to win. A team that is learning to impose their will on a team they believe they should beat. This is a good team with young talent that’s deep. They can afford an off night by a big by throwing another big at opponents. Yes, the seniors are carrying the team. But underclassmen are playing a very large and important part in the teams’ success. You know, you read about the easy schedule with teams that are at the lower end of the RPI scale. People don’t get it. Coach Perri gets it. OOC scheduling is about developing young talent, coming up with a dependable rotation and molding a team to get ready for the NEC wars. And playing teams that are like you. It’s NOT about getting your head bashed in against a power five school. The only redeemable experience players get out that is that they played in an arena in front of 25,000 crazies and perhaps some tv exposure, but remember they lost by 50. And of course, the coach gets a check. For us, it’s about winning the NEC. We win the NEC; we’ll be seasoned; we’ll do some traveling and play in a big arena; we’ll get tv exposure. Winning the NEC is about us. Coach Perri definitely gets it.
    One more thing–the analytics people can turn off people on a team. The RPI, points per possession computations and other ratings are just a bunch of numbers digested and spit out of a computer. And you get a result that says–well, this is what Watson PREDICTS. To me, you win or lose ’cause you’re better or inferior to the opponent. Not because the numbers say so. Numbers cannot measure, desire, motivation, and the will and imposing ones’ will to win.
    Fear the Blackbird.

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