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Blackbirds on the ‘Frink’ of greatness

Junior Transfer Instrumental in LIU’s First 3-0 Start Since 2010

November 24, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Junior transfer Jerome Frink has been a key addition to the Blackbirds’ roster as LIU-Brooklyn is off to its first 3-0 start in five years. Photo courtesy of LIU-Brooklyn Athletics
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LIU-Brooklyn men’s head basketball coach Jack Perri had to wait an entire year to find out what type of impact junior transfer Jerome Frink would have on his Blackbirds.

The early results have been breathtaking to say the least.

Frink, who sat out all of last season after moving to Downtown Brooklyn from Florida International due to NCAA transfer rules, has been instrumental, if not vital, to all of the Blackbirds’ wins as they have sped out to their first 3-0 start since the 2010-11 campaign, when they captured the first of a record three consecutive Northeast Conference titles.

Frink, a 6-foot-7 forward from Jersey City, N.J., keyed the game-winning sequence in LIU’s season opener at Loyola (Maryland) the Monday before last when he blocked a shot directly toward Martin Hermannsson, who fired a pass to fellow junior Joel Hernandez, resulting in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and a thrilling 71-68 triumph that made all of the national highlight programs.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Perri said of the wild ending. “That was just a tremendous play by a few different guys.”

But Frink and the Blackbirds (3-0, 0-0 NEC) were just getting started.

Three days later, Frink helped to ice an 84-79 victory over Maine in the Blackbirds’ home opener at the Wellness Center, slamming home two of his 25 points with a thunderous dunk in the final minute off a feed from Hernandez.

And just this past Sunday at Barclays, Frink and company were at it yet again.

The super-athletic former St. Antony’s High School standout capped an 18-point, seven-rebound, four-block night by swatting away North Carolina Central’s bid for a game-winning shot as time expired, preserving LIU’s 78-77 win in its home away from home on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

“Our main focus [in our comeback] was on the defense,” said Frink, who earned NEC Player of the Week honors after averaging 17 points, eight rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game during his first tour with the Blackbirds. “They were a lot bigger than us. We knew we had to block them out and contain the ball. My main focus [on the last possession] was trying to stop the ball because we were down one. It was a lot on the line so I just stood my ground and got the block. It is just me being at the right place at the right time.”

Perri is certainly glad he’s got Frink for the next two years after three narrow victories that could have easily gone the other way if not for the presence of the most popular transfer student on campus.

“That’s three-for-three with what we like to call them 50/50 games,” said Perri. “We’ve got a lot of them on our schedule this year. In all three of them, we had to do a good job on the defensive end down the stretch so I’m very proud of our guys for making plays. It was a tough game, [NCCU] is a great program. That was a great win for our guys.”

Hernandez had 16 points, including a clutch game-tying 3-pointer, and junior Aakim Saintil and Hermannsson added 15 apiece in Sunday’s win as LIU erased a 12-point second-half deficit.

The Blackbirds will try to extend their season-opening winning streak Wednesday at none other than Frink’s alma mater, Florida International. The game will be televised locally, beginning at 7 p.m., on SNY.

***

Over on Remsen Street, the Terriers of St. Francis fell to 1-2 on the on the young season following Saturday night’s 76-60 loss to unbeaten St. Louis at Chaifetz Arena.

Senior Tyreek Jewell had 12 points and five assists and sophomore Glenn Sanabria added 11 points and six helpers for SFC Brooklyn (1-2, 0-0 NEC), which was hoping to get back to .500 Tuesday night in Louisville against the 2013 national champion Cardinals.

***

On the women’s side, the reigning NEC champions from SFC dropped to 0-3 with Sunday’s 44-40 loss at Saint Peter’s in Jersey City.

Despite the defeat and winless start to the campaign, head coach John Thurston sees plenty of positives from his young, new-look Terriers.

“I was really pleased with [freshmen] Maria Palarino and Dana DiRenzo. They actually kept us in the game,” Thurston noted. “[Sophomore guard] Blair Arthur showed a spark in the second half — they’re really the only ones who scored in the second half. … I was pleased that Maria stepped up — she made a great move on a layup. Blair and Dana did some things to keep the game relatively close. That was an encouraging sign.”

Thurston doubtlessly hopes those encouraging signs turn into victories as the Terriers head to Vermont this weekend to participate in the TD Bank Classic.

***

The LIU women’s squad will carry a 1-1 mark into this weekend’s annual Turkey Classic at the Steinberg Center after cruising to an 89-72 victory at Howard University on Sunday.

Senior Shanice Vaughn poured in 23 points and junior Shanovia Dove added 20 as the Blackbirds gave new head coach Stephanie Oliver her first win at the helm.

LIU will host Florida State in the holiday tournament opener Friday afternoon before taking on Sam Houston State on Sunday at high noon.


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