The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds didn’t live up to their big stage as they were overmatched by Temple and beaten 101-65 at the Barclays Center Saturday night. E.J. Reed had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Gerrell Martin had 13 and seven boards, and Troy Joseph had 11 points. Jason Brickman was limited to nine points and six assists.
“We got whipped,” Blackbird’s coach Jack Perri said. “(Temple coach Fran Dunphy) did a great job in the first half especially not allowing Brickman to do his thing. They didn’t allow us to get the ball back and that really hurt our offense.
“That was the first team that has done (stopped Brickman) all year and it got us a little flustered and whacked out. It was a little frustrating and it’s going to have to be something we have to work at because other teams are going to see this and do the same.”
The Blackbirds were putting up a good fight and hanging in there for the first eight or nine minutes, and trailed just 14-12 with 11:48 left to play in the first half. That quickly became a 21-13 lead though and then a 38-22 lead as Temple finished the half on a 7-1 run. LIU Brooklyn was completely overmatched on defense, as they shot just 23.1 percent in the first half and 28.8 percent overall, and struggled at the line, as they hit just 8-of-17 shots.
“Two things we were talking about was they didn’t let (Brickman) get the ball back and that kind of stagnated our offense,” said Perri. “They also really covered the perimeter well and they made him funnel the ball to the basket.”
To make matters worse, the Blackbird’s depleted front court, which is without the 2012 Northeast Conference Player of the Year Julian Boyd (knee), Nura Zanna (hand), and Gilbert Parga (ankle), took a hit as both Landon Atterberry and Glenn Feidanga both were benched early as they quickly drew three fouls apiece. Atterberry than took his fourth foul just nine seconds into the second half as he was quickly banished to the bench again.
“We started the game off alright, but fouls hurt us,” Perri said. “We have eight scholarship bodies and only three front court guys and two of them didn’t listen very well. They fouled and didn’t play enough minutes and that hurt us a lot. When guys continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, can I hold them accountable? No because we don’t necessarily have the bodies to do that.”
Meanwhile, Temple played a strong basketball game as the Owls shot 50 percent in the first half and 61.3 percent overall. They finished with 26 points from Dalton Pepper and 23 points from Will Cummings. The Owls also out rebounded the Blackbirds 44-42 with 11 offensive boards as well.
“We have to continue to get better,” Perri said. “Obviously conference is the most important thing. We didn’t really want a game like that. I didn’t realize that there was a possibility that this could happen. They do have athleticism, but we weren’t disciplined defensively. We have to continue to compete and figure it out.”
Parga has been out with a badly sprained ankle. After the game Perri said that he hopes to have Parga back before their trip to Texas, where they will play Sam Houston State and Texas State, next week. If he doesn’t get him back by that trip then he’d like to have him back before they come back home to face St. Francis in Brooklyn Heights on Jan. 9.