LIU Brooklyn upset by Robert Morris in NEC Tournament quarterfinals

This fadeaway from RMU's Kavon Stewart with three seconds left helped knock out LIU Brooklyn from the 2017 NEC Tournament Wednesday night. (Photo: Bob Dea - BHJ)

This fadeaway from RMU’s Kavon Stewart with three seconds left helped knock out LIU Brooklyn from the 2017 NEC Tournament Wednesday night. (Photo: Bob Dea – BHJ)

LIU Brooklyn and Robert Morris have played many great games in their long rivalry as NEC foes. In recent history, names like Boyd, Olasewere, Brickman, Karvel Anderson, Lucky Jones and Velton Jones immediately comes to mind.

Wednesday night, inside a raucous Steinberg Wellness Center which stuffed in over 1400 fans to watch another great game to add to the long legacy of the Robert Morris-LIU Brooklyn rivalry, it was Robert Morris senior point guard Kavon Stewart who came up his the biggest shot of his career with three seconds remaining to upset LIU Brooklyn and advance to the NEC tournament semifinals with a 69-68 win for the Colonials. [Read more…]

2016 NEC Basketball Media Day Notebook

_63a8413-cr2-1

(Photo: Bob Dea – Blackbirds Hoops Journal)

This past Wednesday, the Northeast Conference conducted their annual NEC Basketball Social Media Day for the fifth consecutive season at the Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and NHL’s New York Islanders and once again, all ten NEC men’s head basketball coaches were in attendance along a student-athlete representative from each team.

As is the case during the preseason, hope springs eternal and everyone seemed to be in very good spirits as we are just days away now from the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

I got the opportunity to speak to eight of the ten NEC men’s basketball coaches and players with the expectations of Bryant’s Tim O’Shea and Central Connecticut’s Donyell Marshall but I was able to watch NEC Front Row/ESPN3 production put on by the wonderful people at the Northeast Conference after the event and got to hear from all ten men’s basketball coaches and players. [Read more…]

Robert Morris and St. Francis Brooklyn will meet in 2015 NEC Tournament Final

The final has been set for Tuesday night. It will be the two-seeded Robert Morris Colonials, in their sixth appearance in a NEC final in the last seven years, against the one-seeded St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, making their first NEC final appearance since 2003.

In a year in which there was as much parody and unpredictability in the conference, it is ironic the conference championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament comes down to #1 vs #2.

Robert Morris arrives at their second straight NEC tournament by virtue of defeating Wagner in NEC quarterfinals 91-68 and then defeating Bryant on Saturday in the NEC semifinals 66-53. It is crazy to think this same RMU team were in midst of losing three out of four and were about to lose to CCSU at home before this Aaron Tate tip-in pretty much saved their season.

After a loss to Sacred Heart in the next game, RMU has rattled off five straight wins to get to this point.

NEC Player of the Year, SFBKs Jalen Cannon Photo:Bob Dea

NEC Player of the Year, SFBK’s Jalen Cannon (Photo:Bob Dea)

Meanwhile back here in Brooklyn, St. Francis Brooklyn has gone about the NEC tournament business of usual. The Terriers got a game from a young LIU Brooklyn squad but defeated them 79-70 and on Saturday they took down Saint Francis U. 62-48 at home.

The Terriers have now won 11 of their last 12 games coming into the NEC final. They are making their first NEC final appearance since 2003 when they lost to top-seeded Wagner.

It is well chronicled that the Terriers have never made it to the NCAA tournament in their long program history. The Colonials with all their successes of the last seven years, has lost three straight NEC finals and has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2010. Although RMU head coach has guided his teams to the NEC finals in four of the last five years, he has yet to win an NEC tournament championship. RMU head coach Andy Toole knows that by just getting there and having the experience of playing in that remarkable atmosphere and under that immense pressure, it doesn’t guarantee his team anything.

“We’ve played in a couple (of championship games) and it hasn’t necessarily worked in our favor yet. Maybe this will be the year that it does.” said Toole. “Maybe some of the new blood that is a part of the team this year has a different kind of outlook and mindset but it’s got to be two great days of preparation regardless of opponent and it’s got to be maximum energy and effort when we step on the floor on Tuesday.”

Robert Morris Marcquise Reed

Robert Morris’ Marcquise Reed (Photo: Bob Dea)

Robert Morris and St. Francis Brooklyn both split their regular season meetings against one another, both winning on the road. In fact, RMU is the only team in conference play this season to beat St. Francis Brooklyn at the Pope Physical Education Center.

St. Francis Brooklyn’s head coach Glenn Braica knows that RMU is going to come with a different style of play defensively that they are going to need to get themselves prepared for.

“It is a different game. It is a totally different game.” Braica said. “Saint Francis (PA) is man-to-man, we are man-to-man. Robert Morris is going to play zone. I can’t you everything and I don’t know if it’s going to matter anyway, it’s going to be a different game. But we are still going to have to stick to who we are and what we do and try to do the things that we do well.”

Robert Morris has has several players step up for them in the first two NEC tournament games. First, it was senior Lucky Jones (27 points) and freshman Marcquise Reed (22 points) that provided the scoring punch to get by Wagner. On Saturday, it was sophomore Kavon Stewart with his 19 points, eight assists and seven steals that helped do in Bryant. With Stewart, Reed, Jones and Rodney Pryor, the Colonials have some offensive weapons that the Terriers will need to focus on.

St

St. Francis Brooklyn’s Brent Jones (Photo: Bob Dea)

“(Robert Morris) is a great team. They are really talented. They are a tremendous offensive firepower on the perimeter. They have some decent bigs. They have some matchup guys that are tough matchups. It’s going to be a war.” said Braica. “We are just going to do our best and if it is going enough, that’s fine and if it is not then it is what it is. But I know my guys are going to come to play and how well we play we will see. They are going to be ready.”

St. Francis Brooklyn big two in seniors Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones have a look of determination in their eyes in trying to go out as champions and be the first in their school’s history to make to the big dance. Jones was the man against LIU in a career-high 31-point performance while Cannon was the one who came up huge against Saint Francis U. With their great supporting cast of Amdy Fall, Chris Hooper, Tyreek Jewell, and Glenn Sanabria amongst others plus the game being played in what will be a loud, wild and practically in-your-face sold out crowd at the Pope Center Tuesday night, it is going to make for a great NEC championship game.

Kenpom is going with St. Francis Brooklyn by six. I like St. Francis Brooklyn to hoist the NEC championship trophy at home Tuesday night and get their first-ever NCAA tournament bid. It should be lots of fun to watch. I’m looking forward to it.

Ten burning questions going in 2014-15 NEC season

A week from today, the new college basketball season begins. Yes. Finally. What gets us all excited about the prospect of new hoops season is all the various unknowns which will slowly be uncovered and revealed as it goes along.

There are many, many questions in particularly in this 2014-15 Northeast Conference season which even adds more to the excitement. Many of the top players that have been dominating the NEC stat sheets over the last few seasons are now gone. Now it is time to see who steps and becomes the new wave of stars in this ever-evolving league. Which teams will surprise? Which will disappoint? The answers starts arriving in a few days.

I have come up with ten burning questions which should answer themselves as we being this annual road to March through the NEC men’s college basketball season.

1. Can the preseason favorite St. Francis Brooklyn pull it off and win the NEC for the first time in school history?

St. Francis Brooklyn were the NEC coaches preseason favorite but they weren’t the consensus preseason favorite as Robert Morris got that distinction. The fact is only four teams in the last 27 years who have gone on to win the NEC Tournament Championship after being picked as the preseason coaches favorite. Even though the Terriers have very good players in seniors Jalen Cannon and Brent Jones, the rest of their team remains a bit of a question mark. Will juco transfer Tyreek Jewell be able to fill the shooting shoes of the departed Ben Mockford? Can their defense carry this team to a championship? It bears watching.

2. Can the Mount pull off the late season run once again?

There is no doubt in my mind that they can. They are the one team I believe who could lose every single non-conference game and STILL win the NEC tournament because of their frenetic style of play which the Mayhem system is. By February when teams are starting to really feel the wear and tear of the season, the Mount is still running on a full tank which is why they seem they have gone on late runs the last two seasons. Now, the main cast who orchestrated those runs are gone but if they find who will become their next wave of shooters, look for them to be in the hunt at what ever seed they land in March.

3. Will CCSU’s Kyle Vinales be back on the court at any point this season?

Initially, when his October 24th arrest happened and I read the details of his arrest, I thought we had seen the last of Kyle Vinales in a CCSU uniform. Then, the girlfriend changed her story and said he did nothing wrong and she was to blame. He is currently away from the team until his pending December 5th court date. Now, I believe you will see him again this season. I believe there will be a good chance now the charges will be dropped on Vinales and the girlfriend will be charged with lying to authorities. It’s a mess. Yet, if the charges to Vinales are dropped, I can’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be back sometime in mid-to-late December and be a full go for the entire conference season.

4. Is this Robert Morris’ (and Andy Toole’s) year to finally breakthrough and win a NEC championship?

I believe that it will be. They are going to play a difficult non-conference schedule. I think they are going to win the NEC regular season and have home-court throughout the NEC tournament once again. The pressure will be on once they get to March. This could be the Colonials’ last big opportunity to win it all with Lucky Jones and Andy Toole still around, so the time to win is now. I see some early bumps and then things get rolling once conference play begins. Can they get over the championship game bug-a-boo?

5. What will be the marquee NEC win in non-conference play?

I would be shocked if the NEC didn’t have a couple of big wins under their belt in non-conference this season. A few games that the NEC can steal on the road I think are St. Francis Brooklyn over Rutgers on November 23, Mount St. Mary’s over Wake Forest on November 26, Robert Morris over Clemson on December 30. But the marquee win I think will come next Friday on November 14 when Bryant goes up to play the defending national champions Connecticut and shock the Huskies at home. That’s right, I have a feeling that one is going to go down to the wire. If not then, Bryant will get another shot later in the season but this time at home when they host Ivy League powerhouse Harvard on January 20. They will win at least one of those two games.

6. Who is the most irreplaceable player in the NEC?

If there is one player who just couldn’t be replaced and was most tied to the success of their team, it is Jalen Cannon at St. Francis Brooklyn. I believe if the Terriers don’t have Cannon in their lineup, they go from a top-tier, contending team to a bottom half, non-challenging team. He is the heart and soul of that team. His scoring and rebounding will have to carry that team all season along. Without Cannon, they are toast.

7. Who will become the best player in the NEC not many has heard about coming into this season?

There are several candidates for sure but I think that player will be Mount St. Mary’s transfer Chris Martin. He will finally get an opportunity to play. He is in a system where he will be encouraged to shoot a ton of shots and he certainly will. By all accounts, he can shoot the ball at a high level and fits perfectly into the Mount Mayhem system. He could end the season among the NEC leaders in scoring by year’s end.

8. How big of an impact will not having Dwaun Anderson for half the season be on Wagner?

I think it is going to have a huge impact during the non-conference part of the schedule. I see Wagner going from five or six non-conference wins to probably two or three non-conference wins. Now, it will give other young guys a chance to play some major minutes while Anderson is out and that should help the Seahawks once Anderson comes back in January. The thing will become how will the broken foot he suffered impact the rest of his season and only time will tell the answer to that.

9. What is the must-watch game of the NEC season?

Right now, it has to be the January 16th game between St. Francis Brooklyn and Robert Morris at RMU’s Sewall Center in front of nationally-televised audience on ESPNU. This is the NEC coaches and the consensus number one and number two teams going at it for the first time this season and this meeting will give a nice edge to the winner. These two teams should battle for the top spot in the league all season long.

10. Will the NEC get a seed that isn’t a 16 in the NCAA tournament?

I think the only team that can get a non-16 seed is Robert Morris. They play a tough non-conference schedule where if they can get some big wins and dominate the NEC, they can possibly get themselves a reasonable seed like a 14 or 15. Otherwise, I just don’t see it happening this season. The conference overall is just not as good as it has been in the past few years. RMU has the highest KenPom preseason ranking in the NEC and it is just 177. It is going to be a heck of a climb for NEC teams to get a top 75 ranking where it can realistically put them at a 15-seed or better. If any team other than Robert Morris or St. Francis Brooklyn wins the NEC, I think it going to be a virtual lock for another appearance to Dayton to the NEC tourney winner.

The NEC News Wire: The Catching Up Edition

Hey, what do you know. It is July! It has been more than 3 months now since the college basketball season ended and nearly 4 months since we saw the Mount’s Big Three rise the NEC championship trophy at Robert Morris to finish the NEC season. Time to get back into the swing of things and get caught up on stuff we might have missed over the last few months as we check out what came across the what I would like to call The NEC News Wire.

– This was the first offseason in quite a while where there was no head coaching changes in the NEC. Although, Robert Morris’ Andy Toole was a candidate for the Marshall job, he stayed put at RMU and will return for his fifth season at the helm of the Colonials.

– Back on June 12, the Robert Morris Colonials become the first NEC team and so far only team to release their full men’s basketball schedule. They will play six non-conference home games beginning with their season opener against Lafayette on November 14th. They will also play at powerhouses North Carolina in Chapel Hill on November 16th, at Georgetown in DC on November 22nd and at Clemson to cap off their non-conference schedule on December 30th. Their first NEC game is a rematch of last season’s NEC final as they will host Mount St. Mary’s on January 3rd.

– On Monday, we saw the return of Ryan Peters to Big Apple Buckets after a brief hiatus as him and his wife recently had a baby girl as well. (Congrats Ryan!) Ryan broke down the up-to-the-moment 2014 NEC transfers. There were names we knew about, obviously the two LIU transfers in E.J. Reed and D.J. Griggs, as well as Wagner’s Mario Moody and Jay Harris. Also, you can forget the three suspended St. Francis Brooklyn players who weren’t reinstated in Sheldon Hagigal, P.J. Santavenere and Anthony White as well as the two RMU players suspended mid-season in Jeremiah Worthem and Britton Lee. There were also a couple of names that may have slipped by such as SFU’s Stephon Mosley, Bryant’s Declan Soukup, and Sacred Heart’s Leo Vincent.

– The NEC quietly announced in their 2013-14 NEC Year-In-Review that their ever-popular, free web streaming service, NEC Front Row, next season will stream all their events included men’s and women’s basketball in true high-definition.

“Last summer, the Conference provided broadcast quality HD equipment for each institution. With this long-term upgrade, all games are now taped in HD and highlights from Front Row broadcasts have been fed to local news stations, regional sports networks and ESPN (SportsCenter Top-10), and used during NEC-TV games on NEC Front Row. The equipment also allowed games to be streamed in a higher quality for those watching on their computer or mobile device. The Conference plans to upgrade to true HD streaming of NEC Front Row webcasts for the 2014-15 season.”

Next season, NEC Front Row along with its new mobile app NEC On The Run will put high-quality NEC games at our fingertips, on any device, at any time and any place. Awesome!! Thank you NEC!

Check in regularly as our NEC News Wire will be out periodically all summer long keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and notes going on around the NEC.

 

Mount St. Mary’s reaches the NEC mountaintop

Mount St. Mary's is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Mount St. Mary’s is heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Congratulations are in order for the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers and second-year head coach Jamion Christian for winning the 2014 Northeast Conference men’s basketball tournament and defeating the top-seeded Robert Morris Colonials on their home court 88-71 on Tuesday night.

The Mount rode the wave of their dramatic 19-point comeback win against St. Francis Brooklyn in the NEC tournament quarterfinals last Wednesday to two huge road victories to get themselves back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. In fact, in Christian’s first two seasons as head coach of the Mount, they are now 4-1 in NEC tournament road games and have been to two NEC finals and now winning one.

Mount St. Mary's Rashad Whack named 2014 NEC Tournament MVP (Photo: Bob Dea)

Mount St. Mary’s Rashad Whack named 2014 NEC Tournament MVP (Photo: Bob Dea)

The Mount got great balanced scoring from their entire lineup. NEC tournament MVP senior Rashad Whack lead the way with 20 points but they also got major contributions from the other members of the Mount’s “Big 3” with senior point guard Julian Norfleet scoring 17 and senior guard Sam Prescott scoring 15.

Whack was a terror on both ends of the court for Mount St. Mary’s and was well-deserving of the tournament MVP award. He scored 69 points in three games of this NEC tournament and help neutralized the opposition best scoring threat especially in the last two games in hold Wagner’s Latif Rivers and RMU’s Karvel Anderson to a combined 28 points on 10-31 shooting.

Norfleet started off hot from the field especially from beyond the arc, swishing open three-pointers. Prescott played the role of high-post facilitator to perfection. When he was open, he knocked down the elbow jumper all game long and then when the zone collapsed on him, he either found Whack, Norfleet or Will Miller for open shots or pass it down low to the open 7-footer Taylor Danaher for easy layups. They could not have played the RMU 2-3 zone any better. They seemed to find all the open spots and made every single open shot.

Danaher was impressive down low for the Mount with his nice hands and quick shooting. He was a perfect 6 for 6 in the game for 15 points. Jamion Christian inserted Will Miller to hit some open corner threes and that is exactly what he did, making 4 of 5 from the left wing corner. “Coach told me that the corner three would be open all game and they were.” said Miller in the post game interview on NEC Front Row.

So it is on to the NCAA tournament for the Mount as they will likely find themselves on Selection Sunday seeing their names coming up in the First Four bracket in Dayton. Their RPI is 216. Kenpom has them at 207. Their BPI is 221. They have a 16-16 record going into Selection Sunday. The First Four seems like an inevitability. Yet, they are riding a hot wave that might actually get them a win in that First Four game if they can get the right matchup.

Mount St. Mary's Jamion Christian could make a name for himself with a good run in the NCAAs. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Mount St. Mary’s Jamion Christian could make a name for himself with a good run in the NCAAs. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Also, if Mount is capable of making some noise in the Big Dance, they might be more than some eyes at bigger mid-majors looking at Christian as a possible head coaching candidate. Although, I personally believe he needs some more time at the Mount. He still have things he has yet to prove. Can he build a consistent winner and not a team that gets hot in February and March? Can he recruit and retain talent? He has won mostly from a lot of players he inherited from when he arrived. I think these are legit questions which is why I believe he ultimately stays at the Mount for a while. Plus, it would be nice to see the NEC keep their young, talented coaches in the league.

As for RMU, what next for them? It seems like head coach Andy Toole might not be the hot commodity everyone was thinking he would be going into the NEC tournament. Toole is now 0-3 in NEC championship games with one being in his own gym. That still can’t take away from the amazing job he did this season getting a team of just eight players from mid-January on to go 14-2 in the regular season and get them to within a game of the NCAA tournament. Toole might still get some looks but he just won’t be THE hot name had he gotten his team over the hump.

RMU now heads for the NIT where more than likely, they won’t get the fortuitous break of hosting a first-round game against a national powerhouse and defending national champion like they did last season against Kentucky. After the loss to the Mount, it didn’t sound like the RMU upperclassmen wanted to keep playing if it wasn’t an NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, they don’t have much choice.

As for the roster, after the NIT they will lose point guard Anthony Myers-Pate and NEC Player of the Year Karvel Anderson to graduation. They will return Lucky Jones for his senior year and a solid group of returnees with Charles Oliver, Stephan Hawkins, David Appolon and Karon Stewart if they all return. They will likely have a huge class of newcomers coming in with several open scholarships likely available after their suspensions and a couple of players leaving the team. It will be another tall order for Toole next season if he does return to the RMU bench.

Congratulations to both RMU and the Mount for excellent seasons and good luck to them both in their runs at the NIT and NCAAs respectively. Now it is time to pull for the NEC and wish these teams a long and successful postseason journey.

Robert Morris surge in the second half to down LIU Brooklyn on national TV

Another home loss for LIU Brooklyn to RMU drops the Blackbirds to 2-7 in the NEC. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Another home loss for LIU Brooklyn to RMU drops the Blackbirds to 2-7 in the NEC. (Photo: Bob Dea)

It was a game of eight versus eight. Robert Morris with only eight players left on their roster against LIU Brooklyn’s eight guys available for the game. For one half, it was a pretty even game. In the second half, the best player in the NEC took over and it was not much LIU could do as they fall to RMU at the Steinberg Wellness Center Thursday night 65-56 in front of a national television audience on ESPNU.

The biggest difference in this game, even though both teams played eight players, RMU had their shooters while LIU’s was sitting on the bench in nice button down shirts. Junior shooting guard Gerrell Martin missed this game due to a strained shoulder he suffered in practice on Tuesday and junior Gilbert Parga just got his walking boot removed and is not yet ready to play. Without these two, there was not enough offensive firepower to counter the excellence that is RMU senior guard Karvel Anderson when he gets going.

RMU's Karvel Anderson put his shooting excellence on display in the second half scoring 16 points. (Photo: Bob Dea)

RMU’s Karvel Anderson put his shooting excellence on display in the second half scoring 16 points. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Karvel Anderson scored all 16 of his points in the second half as he was held score scoreless in the first half after picking up two first half fouls in seven minutes. He took care of that immediately starting the second half, knocking down his first two attempts, both three-pointers. It took what was an RMU three-point halftime lead and ballooned it to nine in 48 seconds. The Blackbirds could only play catch up the rest of the way as LIU never got any closer than seven points.

“I thought we could hurt them inside and we didn’t, not enough.” LIU head coach Jack Perri said after the loss. “Our guys did a decent job posting up. We didn’t deliver passes enough. They bothered us a little bit around the rim, I was surprised at that. Good for them they did a good job against us on the defensive end.”

LIU shot their second-lowest shooting percentage of the season making just 20 of 62 field goals (32.3%) and going 4 of 18 (22.2%) from three. The Colonials held LIU to 0.84 points per possession, their lowest number so far in NEC play.

Meanwhile, RMU gets back on track and goes to 8-1 in the NEC to hold on to first-place in the NEC by a game over Bryant who they’ve beaten head-to-head twice.

LIU's E.J. Reed lead the Blackbirds with 14 points. (Photo: Bob Dea)

LIU’s E.J. Reed lead the Blackbirds with 14 points. (Photo: Bob Dea)

LIU stayed in the game in the first half by holding RMU to 33% shooting even after RMU raced out to a 10-0 start to the game which LIU erased with a 14-0 run immediately afterwards before the game settled in and become a defensive chess game.

“They sliced up our 1-2-2 (defense) in the first few possessions. They got some slips. Our backline of our 1-2-2, our forwards didn’t do a great job communicating.” Perri said. “We went to the 2-3 zone and that helped stabilize us a little bit and it also helped that Karvel (Anderson) had two fouls.”

The second half was a different story as RMU shot 45% from the floor and turn it around from three going 6 for 13 after 1 for 6 three-point shooting in the first half. LIU without their better outside shooters in Martin and Parga shot 4 of 18 from three in the game and didn’t allow many clean looks to either Jason Brickman, Troy Joseph or Iverson Fleming from the outside.

“We got hurt in transition a ton. We just kept missing shots and missing shots.” said Perri. “That can be demoralizing. I think that is what kind of happened to some of guys. We didn’t have the focus to get back defensively enough.”

Like LIU, RMU has had adjust their defense to playing more zone from their traditional man-to-man defense with just eight players and a thin front court. They are adjusting to it well so far. “As we have been going through it, we kind of been learning on the fly a little bit.” said RMU head coach Andy Toole. “We figuring out certain ways of how people are going to attack it and certain things we think they’re going to do and how to combat some of that stuff. We are kind of learning it together.”

Behind Anderson’s game-high 16 points, Stephan Hawkins scored 10 points, Lucky Jones, Charles Oliver and Anthony Myers-Pate all finished with 9 points and Aaron Tate off the bench scored five points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

No LIU starter shot above 50% from the field. E.J. Reed lead LIU with 14 points but he was 5 of 15 from the floor. Landon Atterberry also had a tough go of it inside as he went 2 of 7 for just four points and two rebounds. Atterberry played in only 19 minutes and just 5 of those were played in the second half.

Iverson Fleming who got the start in place of the injured Gerrell Martin was held to seven points on 3 of 12 shooting. Troy Joseph scored eleven. Glenn Feidanga scored seven off the bench but shot 1 of 5 in the game.

Jason Brickman getting to  basket but held to just eight points while dishing 11 assists. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Jason Brickman getting to basket but held to just eight points while dishing 11 assists. (Photo: Bob Dea)

Jason Brickman played in 39 minutes and finished with eight points and eleven assists and with those eleven assists, it now puts him at 941 career assists and he passes Ohio’s D.J. Cooper and Oregon State’s and NBA Hall of Famer “The Glove” Gary Payton into 11th place on the NCAA career all-time assist list. Next up, is entering into the top ten on the list with Notre Dame/Oklahoma State’s and current CBS Sports analysts Doug Gottlieb (947) and Greg Anthony (950) ahead of Brickman.

With the loss, LIU falls to 2-7 and matches the worst start LIU has had since the 2007-08 season. LIU’s next two games could now help determine if they are going to be participating in this season’s NEC tournament. They face Saint Francis University on Saturday who are two games ahead of them in the standings and lost to St. Francis Brooklyn Thursday night and then head to Sacred Heart next Thursday who are a game behind LIU and CCSU in the standings. Sacred Heart and CCSU both also lost Thursday night.

LIU has no other choice but to get wins out of these next two games or they have the possibility of facing going from a NEC three-peat to being on the outside looking in on the NEC tourney. That would be a hard pill to swallow for seniors like Brickman and Julian Boyd who you have to feel bad for as he sits and watches his team on the bench knowing they may not even get a shot to four-peat if things don’t get turned around in a hurry. This could be the reality if wins don’t start happening soon and it has to begin this Saturday.