City Sports Report

With league play in sight, LIU Brooklyn ready to ‘move on’

LIU BASKETBALL 1

An 88-62 loss to Hofstra, at Barclays Center, capped an up and down non-conference schedule for LIU Brooklyn, leaving them with a 4-7 record. However instead of dwelling on the past, the Blackbirds are looking ahead, and moving on, to the beginning of league play in the NEC.

“We move on. I already told our team that we’re moving on, this is about Bryant now.” said Perri after the game. “It is about league play. We’re done. We’re 4-7. I don’t even care about the record to be honest with you. I think we’ve made a lot of strides from where we were in November. That is the most important thing. We can get ready for Bryant. We have a few games at home and hopefully we can play better than we played today.”

I’m sure losing to Hofstra wasn’t what head coach Jack Perri had in mind. The loss snapped a 4-game winning streak for LIU Brooklyn which helped ease the pain from beginning the season 0-6. This season, so far, has been a roller coaster ride for Perri’s team. It started with a six-game losing streak before the Blackbirds found their footing, reeling off four straight wins, before Hofstra’s hot shooting grounded them.

“We talked about just improving day-to-day since the beginning of the year and I thought we’ve been doing that.” said Perri. “We had a really brutal schedule to start. I think over that stretch we started figuring out things, figuring out rotations, and with that our guys started to feel a bit more comfortable especially on offense and I think our defense has been pretty good.”

There’s been enough proof shown by the Blackbirds to believe they can fly in the NEC this season. Their freshmen duel from Iceland, Elvar Fridriksson and Martin Hermannsson, along with freshman center Nuru Zanna are developing nicely. Sophomore Joel Hernandez is a high-energy player, that’s shown to be surprisingly effective playing in the post. The 6’3 Hernandez has provided a big lift for the Blackbirds whenever called on for key minutes.

Gerrell Martin took a nasty spill in the loss to Hofstra, hitting the floor, and had to be helped to the locker room by the team’s medical staff with what was believed to be a head injury. The status for how long he could be out is presently unknown, however he did tweet encouraging news later in the day. While Martin’s scoring average this season of 9.1 points per game is down from last year’s 12.2 average, his leadership as a senior, along with Landon Atterberry, will be counted on to help navigate their younger players through the grind of the conference schedule.

NEC league play for LIU Brooklyn opens up against Bryant at the Wellness Center, January 3. The Blackbirds will follow that up with two more home games against Fairleigh Dickinson (Jan. 5) and Sacred Heart (Jan 8).  If LIU Brooklyn can take advantage of the early part of their conference schedule, along with the continued development of their young core,  it could go a long way towards reaching their goal of returning to postseason play in March.

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