The LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds have dealt with a long list of injuries early on this season, but they finished off 2013, and their non-conference schedule, on a high note as they beat Texas State 73-64 in Texas on Monday night. Their 5-8 record is the fourth best of all Northeast Conference teams.
Landon Atterberry led the Blackbirds with 22 points, E.J. Reed had 15 and Gilbert Parga had 13 while coming off the bench. Jason Brickman only had six points, but contributed with 10 assists. Once again they were out-rebounded, 42-31, and beaten in the paint 38-28, but still managed to win as they shot 45.1 percent, had seven steals, four from Brickman, and hit seven threes.
Texas grabbed a 3-0 lead early, but quickly lost it and although the Blackbirds never led by more than seven points, they managed to hold on to that lead for most of the half thanks to 18 first-half points by Atterberry.
Texas got back in it during the second half and led by seven points with 13 minutes left to play. The Blackbirds went on a 7-0 run with a big help from Reed, who had all 15 of his points come in the second half, to tie it with 9:42 left. They then slowly started putting distance between themselves and Texas behind strong play from Brickman, Parga, Gerrell Martin and Troy Joseph.
The Blackbirds have been out-rebounded in all but one of their victories this season (the exception was against NJIT). If they can somehow get Julian Boyd back, the 2012 NEC Player of the Year who is out with his second knee surgery, that could make a big difference in their games. Considering their 5-8 non-conference record, the Blackbirds still have a pretty solid chance in a wide-open NEC.
The Blackbirds play again on Jan. 9 when they head to Brooklyn Heights to take on St. Francis. They stay in the NEC for the rest of the season after that.