COLLEGE GAME OF THE WEEK
WHO: LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds (5-8) vs. St. Francis Terriers (9-6)
WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights
WHY THIS GAME IS IMPORTANT: This is the first Northeast Conference game for either team this season, but more importantly this one is for bragging rights.
In recent years, the Blackbirds have been the stronger team as they have won the last three NEC championships and nine out of the last 10 games these two teams have played (the Terriers last win in this series was on Feb. 6, 2010). However, this season has been different as the Blackbirds have been decimated due to graduating players and injuries while the Terriers have an up-and-coming young squad that will be competing for the NEC title in at least each of the next two season.
The Terriers are going to give the Blackbirds fits with their big front court that is strong on defense and includes junior Jalen Cannon, sophomore transfer student Amdy Fall, and freshman sensation Wayne Martin. They also have talented shooters in Ben Mockford and Aleksandar Isailovic that gives them a dynamic team that has already beaten the University of Miami and gave Syracuse a run for its money.
The Blackbirds have been susceptible to bigger teams as they have lost Jamal Olasewere to graduation and Julian Boyd (knee) and Nura Zanna (hand) to season ending injuries. They still have Jason Brickman though, who is one of the most exciting point guards playing basketball at any level right now. It’ll be up to him to get his team involved, but if he can get Gerrell Martin hot behind the arc and Landon Atterberry effective down low, they are still a team that can win some big games.
I expect that this will be an exciting game that could go either way. If the Blackbirds win it will be a signal that their NEC championship run might not be over yet and if the Terriers win it’s a sign that they are no longer the second-rate team in Brooklyn.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LIU Brooklyn senior guard Jason Brickman
LIU Brooklyn junior forward Troy Joseph
LIU Brooklyn junior forward Gilbert Parga
St. Francis junior forward Jalen Cannon
St. Francis senior guard Ben Mockford
St. Francis freshman forward Wayne Martin
LIU Brooklyn: Jack Perri
St. Francis: Glenn Braica
HOW THEY GOT HERE
Nov. 9 won 87-80 over St. Peter’s
Nov. 12 lost 73-72 to Indiana
Nov. 22 lost 84-64 to UC Irvine
Nov. 23 lost 102-70 to Eastern Washington
Nov. 24 lost 72-52 to Boston University
Dec. 1 won 74-72 over Norfolk State
Dec. 5 lost 92-81 to Seton Hall
Dec. 9 lost 76-69 to Lehigh
Dec. 12 won 96-93 over NJIT
Dec. 18 won 82-79 over Lamar
Dec. 21 lost 101-65 to Temple
Dec. 28 lost 82-78 to Sam Houston State
Dec. 30 won 73-64 over Texas State
Nov. 8 won 66-62 over Miami
Nov. 11 won 59-57 over Florida Atlantic University
Nov. 16 lost 78-58 to University of Dayton
Nov. 18 lost 56-50 to Syracuse University
Nov. 23 lost 70-59 to Coastal Carolina
Nov. 24 won 68-62 over Oakland University
Nov. 27 won 83-54 over College of Mount St. Vincent
Dec. 1 won 70-68 over Stony Brook
Dec. 7 lost 67-54 to Army
Dec. 10 lost 73-58 to Monmouth University
Dec. 14 won 67-51 over Canisius College
Dec. 19 won 65-62 over Lafayette College
Dec. 23 won 77-65 over NJIT
Dec. 30 won 60-57 over Delaware State
Jan 4. lost 81-61 to Columbia University
FOLLOW THE ACTION: Follow Brooklyn Eagle Sports on Twitter @BkEagleSports for updates during the game. Then check back here at the website afterward for recaps, photos, and analysis on the game.