LIU Brooklyn only have themselves to blame in brutal loss at CCSU Saturday

It looked like Saturday would be a good one for the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team. It started with LIU learning that one of the teams ahead of them, Fairleigh Dickinson, lost in dramatic fashion to Bryant in overtime given them a chance to climb back up in the NEC standings.

All the Blackbirds had to do was go out and beat Central Connecticut State, a team that entered Saturday’s matchup at 3-17 and 1-8 in the conference and had a KenPom ranking of 342 out of 351 teams.

Unfortunately for LIU, who didn’t play a great game on Thursday evening against Sacred Heart but was able to pull out the victory, they picked a terrible time to play one of their worst games of the season as the Blackbirds spoiled a great opportunity as fell to the lowly Blue Devils 61-52 at the Detrick Gym Saturday afternoon.

The Blackbirds have no one to blame for this loss but themselves. Even with a terrible shooting day which saw LIU shoot under 40 percent from the field and 3 of 19 from three-point range, LIU could have still stolen this game had they made a couple more three and not have totally shot themselves in the foot by going an abysmal 9 of 24 from the free throw line.

LIU had entered the day third in the conference in free throw shooting in NEC games but one by one, each crucial miss from the line became more and more deflating.

It wasn’t like CCSU was taking advantage of LIU’s bad day shooting the ball. CCSU made just two more field goals than LIU in the same amount of attempts and was just 4 of 11 from three and equally terrible 13 of 27 from the charity stripe.

Oddly enough, LIU got off to a very nice start, flying out to a 12-5 lead four and a half minutes into the game and it looked like the Blackbirds was set to take control of this game and put the CCSU away early on.

Then LIU went colder than ice and scored just seven points the remaining 15:35 of the half as CCSU got back in it ever so slowly and a Kevin Seymour layup right before the halftime buzzer gave CCSU a 25-19 lead at the break.

LIU cut their deficit down the three with over eleven minutes left after Jashaun Agosto found a streaking Jerome Frink on the break for a slam but CCSU would respond with a 12-3 run in a span of just over three minutes to go up twelve and seemingly put the game out of reach for LIU.

Yet, LIU would respond and they would get as close as three with 2:57 left to go but they would get no closer as LIU went 2 of 6 from the floor, missing all three of their three-point attempts and 1 of 6 from the free throw line as CCSU outscored LIU 11-5.

CCSU’s Austin Nehls who scored just six points in their loss to Bryant Wednesday night and shot 0 of 10 from three and then missed his first three attempts from deep versus LIU, finally got going and made three of his last four three attempts and finished with a game-high 20 points. Mustafa Jones and Tyson Batiste each scored ten for the Blue Devils and they are now 2-8 in the NEC.

Jerome Frink collected his eleventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. His eleven double-doubles now tie him with Nura Zanna for the team lead in double-doubles.

Julian Batts and Raiquan Clark each finished with 11 points although Clark struggled from the free throw line going 3 of 8.

Nura Zanna, Iverson Fleming, and Jashaun Agosto each had underwhelming games as the trio combined for fourteen points.

In the first half, LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri played thirteen players. The only player that didn’t get off the bench for LIU was freshman walk-on Caylen Williams who hasn’t appeared in a game this season. With the exception of Clark, they all combined to score just one point.

One player who has been really struggling lately is sophomore guard Raul Frias. He went scoreless for the second straight game and over his last three games, he is 1 of 12 from three and 1 of 13 overall. He is now shooting 26 percent from three this season.

The loss for LIU was a damaging one. They failed to get even record-wise with FDU and still trailed them for second-place by a game. Mount St. Mary’s won again and is now 9-1 and lead LIU in first-place by two full games. Also, Saint Francis U. who is in fourth-place behind LIU won their game and now trails LIU by just one game in the NEC standings through ten games of conference play.

LIU will need to find a way to get back on track after dropping two of their last three games, albeit on the road, as they head back to Brooklyn for a pair of games versus Robert Morris and Saint Francis U. next week. The Blackbirds can’t afford any more hiccups if they want to keep their top 3 standing and try to move back up into the top two.

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