LIU-Brooklyn men’s hoops has its fun against New Rochelle
Blackbirds notch first win of Kellogg Era with 104-68 rout at Steinberg Center
The Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn men’s basketball squad lived up to its credo as a “fun team to watch” during the third game of new head coach Derek Kellogg’s tenure at the Downtown school.
After back-to-back losses to open the campaign, the Blackbirds (1-2) finally showed off their break-neck, up-and-down style in a victory Wednesday night in front of just over 1,000 fans at the Steinberg Center.
Redshirt senior Joel Hernandez led five LIU players in double figures with 19 points and freshman forward Eral Penn ripped down 13 rebounds as the Blackbirds cruised to a 104-68 rout of visiting Division III New Rochelle.
“We are going to be fun, and I have a good indication that we are going to win some basketball games,” noted Kellogg before LIU dropped a tough 102-96 decision to Tulsa in New Orleans last Friday night.
“And hopefully we can win the right amount at the right time to put ourselves in a good position,” he added.
Despite an overall poor effort during Monday night’s 81-68 loss to Fordham in the Bronx, the Blackbirds certainly provided fun for the home faithful Wednesday, putting up the most points by an LIU squad since 2012, and having more than four players finish with more than 10 points since 2015.
Kellogg, brought in after nine seasons as head coach at the University of Massachusetts, certainly needed to get in the win column before the Blackbirds headed to Montego Bay this weekend for the Jamaica Classic, where they will take on Miami of Ohio on Friday and the University of Hartford Saturday.
The firing of former head coach Jack Perri was met with some disapproval from both the loyal LIU fan base and some ex-Blackbird players, especially after the team won 20 games a season ago before losing in the opening round of the NEC Tournament.
Fifth-year senior Zach Coleman posted LIU’s first double-double of the campaign with 10 points and 11 rebounds, junior Raiquan Clark, who poured in a career-high 34 versus Tulsa last week, finished with 17 points and sophomore Jashaun Agosto added 16 for LIU, which led by as many as 38 points.
“Starting off 0-2 with a couple of tough road games, I thought if our guys could come out and play tough tonight, we could come away with a W,” Kellogg said after capturing his first win here in Brooklyn.
“We got up 16 [points] in the first half and let them back in the game. But in the second half we played a little bit of defense. I think our guys, offensively, we are doing some nice things, we just have to play better on the defensive end.”
Penn and fellow freshman Shyheim Hicks both had seven points for the Blackbirds, who will play their next five games outside of Brooklyn before hosting Hartford here on Nov. 30.
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The St. Francis Brooklyn men’s squad is still seeking win No. 1 after dropping an 80-79 heartbreaker to Manhattan College Wednesday night at Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale, N.Y.
Sophomore Rasheem Dunn and junior Glenn Sanabria scored 13 points apiece for the Terriers (0-2), who had an opportunity to pull the game out before senior D.J. Porter got called for traveling with seven ticks remaining in overtime.
Porter scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds for his first-ever double-double and freshman Josh Nicholas had a strong overall game with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists for SFC, which will take another shot at getting in the win column during Sunday afternoon’s home opener here versus Brown.
It may have been the reliance on the 3-pointer that ultimately cost the Terriers in this one as they opened the contest by draining eight of their first 13 attempts from long range before going a combined 2-of-18 down the stretch.
St. Francis, which went a dismal 4-27 last season, also missed 10 of its 27 free-throw attempts.
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Senior guard Ben Batash scored a team-high 12 points Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough as Brooklyn College lost its season opener, 67-47, at William Paterson in Wayne, N.J.
Sophomore Henry O’Reilly added eight points for the Bulldogs (0-1), who will remain in the Garden State this weekend to participate in the Rose City Classic at Drew University.
Brooklyn College will take on the host school on Saturday evening.