The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds were led to back-to-back conference titles behind 2011-12 Northeast Conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd. Without Boyd last season, Jamal Olasewere took over the team, won a NEC Player of the Year award and conference title. With both Boyd and Olasewere gone this season, they will probably need another player to emerge as a Player of the Year candidate if they are going to have a shot at a fourth conference title.
Senior point guard Jason Brickman certainly emerged as a candidate when he led the Blackbirds to an opening night 87-80 victory over St. Peter’s at the Barclays Center on Saturday behind 13 points and 14 assists. On Monday, the NEC named him Player of the Week for his efforts.
With the Blackbirds trailing St. Peter’s by two points with just over three minutes to play, Brickman assisted on three baskets during an 11-0 run that helped to win the game. Brickman found Landon Atterbury twice on that drive. First, on a three-pointer from the top of the key to get the run started and then on a no-look pass to put LIU up 81-72 with 49 seconds to play.
Brickman’s 14 assists were the second highest single-game total of his career. He had 16 assists last season on Feb. 18 against Quinnipiac. Other Blackbirds who played a big role in Saturday’s victory included Gerrell Martin, who had 24 points and E.J. Reed who had 17 points with six assists. Gilbert Parga and Atterberry had 13 and 11 points each respectively.