Downtown

LIU Brooklyn swept by Mount during Hall of Fame Day doubleheader

January 20, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of LIU Brooklyn's Hall of Fame Class of 2015 received their plaques at a halftime ceremony (from left): Ricardo Aguilera (men's soccer), Bernadette Shabazz (sister of Lonnie Barton, the golf coach who was honored posthumously), Louis Brignoni (men's basketball), Ashley O'Connor (women's soccer), Ron Solomine (baseball) and Shauna Wilde (women's golf). Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

It was supposed to be a good day for LIU Brooklyn as it celebrated its Hall of Fame Day with a doubleheader at Barclays Center, but Mount St. Mary’s put a damper on the festivities by sweeping LIU’s men’s and women’s teams in a doubleheader on Saturday.

The men’s game was perhaps the hardest to watch as the Blackbirds built up a 25-4 lead early and then a 36-19 lead in the second half, only to lose to Mount 61-54 after a terrible stretch of basketball.

“This is a disappointing one,” said the men’s head coach Jack Perri. “It’s frustrating to play like that in the first half, which has been consistently pretty good lately, and then to fall off in the second half the way we did.”

In front of a crowd of roughly 2,000 people, everything went right for the men’s team early on. They moved the ball well on offense and played strong defense. Senior Gerrell Martin set the tone with 10 points and four rebounds early, and seven different Blackbirds had a hand in the offense.

The first sign of things to come happened late in the first half when Mount put together a 15-4 run, but Martin came out shooting in the second half and hit a pair of threes to go up by 17.

Everything was downhill from there. Mount turned up the pressure defensively and Junior Robinson led the charge with 12 points in the second half.

“I brought everybody in, and the first thing I told them was to keep their poise,” Martin said. “Then after a turnover, I told the guys to slow down. As the lead kept getting smaller and smaller, I said, ‘Now we really have to step up.’ We have to do what we did in the first half.

“They hit some tough shots and we had some defensive lapses, but we’ll get back to work,” Martin continued. “We can’t hang our heads on this one. It’s disappointing, but we have a lot more games coming, and we’ll see them again.”

____________

The women’s game was not quite as bad, but the result was equally disappointing as the Blackbirds lost 76-69 to Mount St. Mary’s in the first game of the afternoon.

Mount got off to a strong start as it built up an early 13-6 lead, but junior Sophie Bhasin and sophomore Shanovia Dove had strong first halves to keep LIU Brooklyn in the game. After trading leads three times, Mount led by just three going into halftime.

Mount never trailed in the second half and led by 18 points when Jacqueline Brewer hit a three to make it 62-44. LIU went on a nice run to cut into that and trailed by just five points when Bhasin hit a three with 2:49 left to play. However, Bhasin missed three shots in the final minutes, and Shanice Vaughan was the only Blackbird to score on a layup with 15 seconds left.

“Three air balls, that’s what happened,” a frustrated Bhasin said when she explained the second half. “We still have a lot of season left to play, but every game is a big opportunity to get a win and we let this one get away.”

____________

During halftime of the men’s game, LIU Brooklyn held a ceremony to honor the inductees for its Hall of Fame Class of 2015.

There were five former student-athletes inducted including Ricardo Aguilera (men’s soccer), Louis Brignoni (men’s basketball), Ashley O’Connor (women’s soccer), Ron Solomine (baseball), Shauna Wilde (women’s golf) and Lonnie Barton, a former golf coach who was enshrined posthumously.

“We are very excited to be honoring this group of well-deserving individuals,” interim director of athletics Brad Cohen said. “All of them enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, and their accomplishments have helped establish and embody the outstanding tradition of athletic excellence at LIU Brooklyn.”