We’re closer to having everything go through Brooklyn! There are five NEC nights left in the season. On this one both St. Francis Brooklyn and LIU Brooklyn pulled off victories to move up in the standings — and help each other out.
LIU Brooklyn 63, Robert Morris 62
After trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, a 6-0 run to close out that stanza along with a terrific defensive effort in the following 20 minutes guided the Blackbirds to the biggest upset of the evening. Guard Martin Hermannsson filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists while fellow freshman Trevin Woods matched his career high with 13 points. Having firmly cemented himself as a NEC all-rookie team recipient, Hermannsson has now posted eight games with an offensive rating north of 100 in his last 11. LIU Brooklyn held Robert Morris to just 22 points in that second half and gave up a very respectable 0.94 ppp overall. When the Blackbirds hold their conference opponents to under 1.00 ppp, they are a sparkling 7-2 on the season.
In addition to their sputtering offense, Robert Morris struggled on the backboards, getting out-rebounded by 12 caroms. Their 22 total rebounds last night was a season low. Marcquise Reed was fantastic in the first half, but was held to just two points afterwards. Lucky Jones was decent with 12 points and six rebounds, but it wasn’t enough. The Colonials now have a losing record overall (12-13) and haven’t finished with one since the 2004-05 season.
Saint Francis University 74, Central Connecticut 63
Central Connecticut dropped their fifth straight in Loretto, PA in a lopsided defeat at the hands of the more experienced and polished SFU Red Flash. Rob Krimmel’s squad led from start to finish and raced out to a commanding 23-point advantage going into halftime. SFU was rather efficient offensively, making 44% of their takes while committing just nine turnovers in 68 possessions for a 13.2% turnover rate. Five Red Flash starters reached double figures, led by Ollie Jackson with 18 points. Earl Brown and Ronnie Drinnon combined to grab 22 rebounds in the victory.
The season can’t end soon enough for the Blue Devils, who have now lost 16 of 17. Matt Mobley had 18 points on 15 shots to lead CCSU. The starters, for the most part, were efficient offensively, but the bench could only muster three points on 0 of 7 shooting.
Bryant 74, Fairleigh Dickinson 71
The good, actually great, Dyami Starks showed up tonight for Tim O’Shea Bulldogs, scoring 31 of his team’s 74 points in a hard-fought road victory over the struggling Knights. It was Starks’ 11th straight game in double figures, but this one was by far his most efficient effort as he only needed 14 shots to get to 31 points. Joe O’Shea chipped in with 12 points on the back of three triples. Because of the Colonials’ unexpected loss, Bryant now sits alone in second place at 9-4.
The downward trajectory, on the other hand, continues for Greg Herenda’s Knights, losers of 11 consecutive NEC match-ups. The latest setback was thanks to a porous effort, once again, from behind the arc with FDU converting just 6 of 28 three-point attempts. Six of those misses came during a Bryant 14-4 run, which broke a tie at 51 points apiece. The Bulldogs never looked back from there, despite the Knights’ excellence at the charity stripe last night (23-24).
Freshman Darian Anderson was solid in the defeat, tallying 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal. Mostafaa Jones, however, continued to struggle, posting his fifth straight game with an efficiency rating in the single digits. Over this time span, the senior guard is shooting just 34.4% from the field.
Sacred Heart 62, Mount St. Mary’s 55
Eleven second half points from Steve Glowiak helped guide the Pioneers to an unlikely victory – their second straight in front of a rather stunned crowd at the Knott Arena. De’von Barnett, a Maryland native playing in front of his family and friends, scored a game high 17 points, including 10 in the second stanza. Jordan Allen chipped in with a double double (12 points, 10 rebounds) including five offensive rebounds. As a group, Sacred Heart had 16 second chance points from 11 offensive rebounds, whereas the Mount was only able to muster seven second chance points, despite equalling the Pioneers’ effort with 11 offensive rebounds. That, along with the Pioneers making nine of their final 15 shots down the stretch, sunk Mount St. Mary’s to a 7-6 conference mark.
Despite the loss, tonight was the 11th time in 13 conference contests where the Mount held their opponents to under 1.00 ppp. Their offense, however, sputtered after holding a seemingly insurmountable 39-30 advantage midway through the second half. From there, Sacred Heart coasted out to a 18-4 run and never looked back thanks to Glowiak’s long-range shot making.
Andrew Smeathers returned for the Mount after missing more than a month of action. He was rusty with just three points on 1 of 7 shooting. Greg Graves, Kristijan Krajina and Byron Ashe paced the Mountaineers with a combined 38 points on just 21 shots.
St. Francis Brooklyn 83, Wagner 66
For the second time in five days Wagner and St. Francis Brooklyn met on a basketball court and unfortunately for the Seahawks the results were rather similar. Wagner fell down early, clawed back into it, and then watched as a long scoreless drought during the second half cost them a chance to take down the current NEC leaders. Jalen Cannon scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the way for the Terriers. Brent Jones also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists and Amdy Fall added 13 points, five rebounds and four blocks in 23 minutes.
This game though was different from last Saturday for one reason. It was decided by the offenses. Last week the Terriers and Seahawks played a game where neither team cracked a point per possession. This time both did in the 62-possession game. Wagner was led on the offensive end by Romone Saunders, who scored 16 points and seemed to frustrate SFC’s guards. Marcus Burton added 12 points and Corey Henson scored 11.
The Terriers offense was excellent thanks to 19 offensive rebounds on only 31 missed shots (a ridiculous 61.2% offensive rebound percentage). Cannon had seven of them and most came just because he wanted the ball more. He routinely jumped over Wagner’s big men, who all struggled with foul trouble during the game.
Wagner got nothing out of its frontcourt on Thursday night. The young Seahawks are now 6-7 in NEC play, but still firmly in the playoff picture. There’s obviously pieces, and Mason is trying his hardest to make them fit together — his decision to go to a 2-3 zone midway through the first half kept the Seahawks in it through 20 minutes — but too often youth plays a decisive role.
NEC Player of the Night
Dyami Starks, Bryant – It’s been an up-and-down conference season for Bryant’s senior leader, but on Thursday night Starks was fantastic. His 31 points were a season high, as was his efficiency rating mark of 28. Perhaps most impressive was Starks ability to get to the free throw line. He was a perfect eight for eight from the charity stripe.
NEC Performance of the Night
LIU Brooklyn – Despite sporting a roster loaded with underclassmen, LIU Brooklyn grew up in a big way tonight, earning a victory at the The Chuck despite trailing by double figures in the first half. Jack Perri’s group is now 7-6 in the conference and still has a realistic shot to earn a home playoff game in the first round of the NEC tournament. No one thought that was possible coming into the season.
1) St. Francis Brooklyn, 11-2
2) Bryant, 9-4
3) Robert Morris, 8-5
4) Saint Francis U, 8-5
5) Mount St. Mary’s, 7-6
6) LIU Brooklyn, 7-6
7) Sacred Heart, 6-7
8) Wagner, 6-7
9) Fairleigh Dickinson, 2-11
10) Central Connecticut, 1-12
Next Up on the NEC Schedule
Sacred Heart at St. Francis Brooklyn
Bryant at Mount St. Mary’s
Central Connecticut at Robert Morris
Fairleigh Dickinson at Wagner
LIU Brooklyn at Saint Francis U
*All games will be played on Saturday, February 14