City Sports Report

LIU Brooklyn beginning to come together at the right time

Fridriksson and Hermannsson

It looks like LIU Brooklyn has put their early-season struggles in the rear-view mirror. The Blackbirds topped Florida International on Thursday night at Barclays Center, 69-58, winning their third straight game.

LIU Brooklyn is beginning to turn it around, and with conference play approaching, the Blackbirds are beginning to click at the right time.

The win over Florida International, arguably, was LIU Brooklyn’s most impressive of the season. The Blackbirds pushed the pace early, racing to an early 29-14 lead. They’re offense against FIU looked confident, the ball movement was crisp, and significantly improved. However, it was what happened the rest of the way that I found to be impressive.

Florida International would go on an 11-1 run to close to within 5 at halftime.  The Panthers came out in the second half determined, going on a 9-2 run to take the lead, 34-32. This is where, a couple of weeks ago, the Blackbirds may have folded. However, after a series of lead changes, LIU Brooklyn regained their mojo on offense, sparked by their freshman point guard Elvar Fridriksson. With 12:36 to go in the game and trailing FIU 43-39, LIU Brooklyn went on a 10-2 run,  including back-to-back 3-pointers from Fridriksson. Clutch free throw shooting down the stretch put the game on ice for the Blackbirds.

With the win, LIU Brooklyn improved to 3-6. They don’t look anything like the group of individuals that started out the season together 0-6. They’re now playing with a great deal of confidence and poise, as noted by head coach Jack Perri after the win.

“We’re starting to execute better, guys are starting to have confidence in that, we’re taking the right shots, we’re not necessarily talking about shot selection anymore, which was part of the issue early on, so hopefully we can continue to do that and good things are going to happen.”

Quick Points

The offense isn’t the only aspect of the game beginning to come around for LIU Brooklyn.   They held their opponent under 60 points for the second-straight game. The Blackbirds did a solid job containing FIU’s leading scorer, Dennis Mavin, under his season average of 17 points per game. Mavin finished with 12 points on 5 for 13 shooting.

Joel Hernandez continues to give LIU Brooklyn a huge lift, as the 6’3 sophomore registered a double-double (11 pts, 10 rebounds) against FIU. What’s becoming more impressive with every game is that Hernandez is seeing increased playing time at the power forward position.

The Blackbirds finished with four players in double figures, showing how potentially dangerous they can be on offense, depth-wise. Fridriksson led the way with 17 points, and Gerrell Martin finished with 15 points, including three 3-pointers. “We got a lot of talent on this team”, said freshman guard Martin Hermannsson (10 points). “Anybody can step up on one night and have 20 points, another one, next night, have 20 points. It doesn’t matter, long as we stay together … I think we’re solid.”

What’s Next?

LIU Brooklyn goes for four in a row on Monday, December 22 on the road against New Hampshire. The Blackbirds will be looking to avenge a 72-56 loss to the Wildcats earlier this season on December 3.

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