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LIU-Brooklyn basketball looks to bounce back at Barclays

Take on Niagara Following Loss to Previously Winless Dartmouth

December 20, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jerome Frink and the rest of the Blackbirds received a rude welcome home Sunday afternoon, suffering an 82-68 loss to previously winless Dartmouth in their first game at the Steinberg Center in five weeks. Photo courtesy of LIU Brooklyn Athletics
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LIU Brooklyn’s long-awaited homecoming turned into a house party gone wrong Sunday afternoon as head coach Jack Perri’s unit looked like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight in a humbling 82-68 loss to previously winless Dartmouth before a crowd of 1,052 Blackbird boosters at the Steinberg Wellness Center.

The Blackbirds (7-5), who hadn’t stepped foot on their true home floor since a season-opening victory over John Jay College in Downtown Brooklyn on Nov. 11, must have had to re-adjust their shooting sights after spending five full weeks traveling around the nation, with a couple of pit stops at Barclays, where they downed visiting Loyola, Maryland and stunned St. John’s.

The Big Green (1-9) had suffered double-digit losses in all but two of their previous contests before toppling LIU for the second straight year.

And once again, it was Miles Wright who did the most damage.

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The junior guard, who put up a career-best 39 points against the Blackbirds in Hanover, New Hampshire last Nov. 29, scored a game-high 25 points Sunday, going a healthy 10-of-17 from the floor, including five big 3-pointers.

“Miles had a really good practice yesterday,” Dartmouth head coach David McLaughlin noted after his team finally got off the schneid. “He was playing loose, like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.”

Wright’s performance puts the burden on LIU to recover from its poorest effort of the season.

The Blackbirds have dropped two straight since their rousing 7-3 start and will try to return to form against Niagara at the Barclays Center on Wednesday before kicking off the Northeast Conference slate on campus Dec. 29 against Mount St. Mary’s.

Despite 22 points from Jerome Frink and 15 points and 16 boards from Nura Zanna, the Blackbirds simply couldn’t find their stroke. They shot a brutal 37 percent in the first half, 20 percent from 3-point range and 45 percent at the charity stripe.

All of the misfires resulted in LIU’s second consecutive loss since the breakthrough win over the Red Storm.

The Blackbirds have not dropped three straight games ending the 2014-15 season with five consecutive defeats, including a first-round ousting in that year’s NEC Tournament via a 79-70 setback at top-seeded SFC Brooklyn.

* * *

Off to an ugly 2-9 start, the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers got some good news Monday when our borough’s own Rasheem Dunn was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week.

Dunn, a freshman out of Thomas Jefferson High School, came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points and hand out four assists last week in an 87-60 loss at Albany.

Dunn, who went 5-of-9 from the floor and picked up a steal during his 30 minutes on the floor, currently ranks third amongst all first-year NEC players with 12.6 points per game, making him a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year honors as conference play begins later this month.

The Terriers, who have lost two straight since a 69-51 home win over Mount Saint Vincent on Dec. 7, were slated to host Manhattan College Tuesday night at the Pope Center.

Dunn, who came to Remsen Street after helping Thomas Jefferson win its first Class AA New York State basketball title in 62 years, could be an instrumental part of this team for the next four years.

“Rasheem’s a solid backcourt player who’s a tough perimeter defender, and who can score and penetrate off the dribble,” Terriers head coach and Brooklyn native Glenn Braica said on the team’s website earlier this year.

“He was co-MVP of the City Public High Schools’ championship game. He was also the leading scorer in the New York State Federation championship game, helping to lead Jefferson to the state title.”

SFC is still looking to make its first-ever visit to the NCAA Tournament.

* * *

Brooklyn College hoopsters Austin Wood and Michael Tesoriero were both honored by the CUNYAC this week, receiving the league’s Player and Rookie of the Week awards, respectively.

Wood, a senior combo guard, scored a game-high 24 points in last week’s tough 70-67 loss at NYU, grabbing five rebounds and handing out a pair of assists in the last-second defeat.

Tesoriero, a freshman point guard from Staten Island, added eight points and dished a game-high 10 assists with only two turnovers in the non-conference contest.

The defending CUNYAC champion Bulldogs (3-6) will continue an extended break before taking part in the Land of Magic Tournament in Daytona, Florida. BC will take on Lebanon Valley on Dec. 28 before battling SUNY Oneonta the next day.

The Bulldogs will be back at the West Quad Center on Jan. 2 to host No. 16 Denison.

The BC women, off to a 5-1 start, including a perfect 3-0 in CUNYAC action, will also participate in the Land of Magic Tournament, meeting the University of Mary Washington on Dec. 28 and the Maine Maritime Academy on Dec. 29.

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