LIU Brooklyn battled Minnesota but just too many turnovers in 76-66 loss

It was going to be an uphill battle from the tip as LIU Brooklyn walked into Big Ten country to play an improved Minnesota Golden Gopher team that started their season 10-1.

Although the Blackbirds overall effort was very good considering the opposition, LIU just couldn’t overcome Minnesota’s height and athleticism as well as the nineteen turnovers they committed to fall to the Golden Gophers 76-66 to drop to 7-4 on the season.

LIU scored the first four points of the game and it looked like they might get off to the fast start similar to what they did against St. John’s on Sunday. But Minnesota would start a 22-7 run to go up eleven as Minnesota point guard Nate Mason began to take over.

LIU though hung in there and got to within six and had to chance to cut it down to four with five minutes left in the first half but an Iverson Fleming alley-oop pass to Raquian Clark missed the mark and turned the ball over which quickly resulted in Mason three-pointer to put the Gophers back up nine and begin a 14-6 to end the half and put LIU down 38-24 at halftime.

LIU shot themselves in the foot in the first half with twelve turnovers and just 1 of 7 shooting from three while allowing Minnesota to hit six threes.

Out of the locker room, LIU decided to just bomb away and see what happens and what happened was a 12-0 run, all on three-point field goals in a span of 2:09, three of them by Iverson Fleming to get within two, 38-36. Minnesota would subsequently go on an 11-3 run to get back up double digits and pretty much coast the rest of the way to a ten-point win.

“I was happy that we made a nice run there in the second half to give ourselves a chance.” Perri said after the loss. “We didn’t play very well defensively in some stretches. We allowed dribble penetration to some of their top players. McBrayer really hurt us by breaking us down off the dribble. It’s disappointing we couldn’t make it a little bit closer or win the game, but overall, I’m happy with some things.”
Iverson Fleming, fresh off his NEC Player of the Week honor on Monday, finished with a game-high 24 points as he dropped 20 points in the second half and made a career-high six three-pointers on seven attempts in the game.
Jerome Frink, who LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri, scheduled this game for to face his former FIU head coach and current Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino, was held relatively in check by Minnesota’s big guys inside as he finished 13 points and 9 rebounds, one rebound short of his fourth double-double of the season but shot just 6 of 16 from the floor.
Nura Zanna finished with his second straight double-double and fourth double-double of the season with ten points and ten rebounds but left the game in final two minutes after taking a nasty looking fall off the Williams Arena raised court going after an offensive rebound and was down for a couple of minutes before walking off the court to the bench under his own power.
Jashaun Agosto scored nine while Julius van Sauers, Raiquan Clark, and Julian Batts combined for ten points. van Sauers finished with a career-high five assists and Batts also had a career-high in assists with four.
The Blackbirds out-rebounded Minnesota 38-32 and outscored the Gophers in the second half 42-38. Minnesota did shoot 46 percent for the game and made 8 of 21 from three. LIU shot 45 percent from the field.
“We still have two more games that are non-conference and we’re still trying to get better.” Perri said. “I think we have the ability to rebound the basketball and rebounding well against a Big Ten opponent is obviously a step in the right direction. We have to be a little more consistent with taking care of the basketball. We just have to continue to get better defensively with containing the basketball and limiting second chance opportunities. We just have to continue to get better.”
Dupree McBrayer who had an excellent second half for Minnesota in helping them pull away led the Gophers with 21 points. Mason finished with 19 points and 7 assists for Golden Gophers who are now 11-1 to start their season.
LIU Brooklyn completes their road non-conference schedule and finished 2-4 in true road games and 4-4 away from Brooklyn in non-conference play this season. The Blackbirds now return home to play their final two non-conference games starting with winless Dartmouth on Sunday afternoon at the Steinberg Wellness Center before taking on Niagara at the Barclays Center on December 21st.
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