Double downer for local college squads
SFC Brooklyn and LIU fall in NEC openers on road
The St. Francis Brooklyn and Long Island University men’s basketball teams can’t wait for New Year’s Eve.
That will be the first opportunity for both squads to bounce back from disappointing results in their respective Northeast Conference openers.
In North Andover, Massachusetts Wednesday night, the Terriers returned from a pair of postponements due to COVID protocols and had their three-game winning streak snapped with a 74-64 loss to Merrimack in front of 282 fans at the Bert Hammel Court.
Junior guard Rob Higgins scored a team-high 18 points, grabbed five rebounds and added five steals in a season-high 38 minutes for SFC (3-9, 0-1 NEC), which hadn’t hit the hardwood since blowing out Medgar Evers, 113-51, at Remsen Street’s Pope Center on Dec. 14.
Things didn’t go much better for LIU Wednesday as it absorbed a tough 69-65 loss at Sacred Heart in front of 504 fans at the Pitt Center in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Senior Ty Flowers did yeoman work with a career-best 36 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including a blistering 6-of-10 effort from 3-point range, thrusting himself into the early race for NEC Player of the Year honors.
But Flowers’ brilliant effort wasn’t enough as the Sharks (3-8, 0-1 NEC) pulled within two points late in the contest only to see the Pioneers hold on down the stretch.
Senior Isaac Kante put up 12 points and grad student Eral Penn added 11 points and 12 rebounds for LIU, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.
The Sharks will return to action Friday night at Merrimack (6-8, 1-0).
The Terriers will be back in Brooklyn Heights on Friday to host Central Connecticut State, kicking off a three-game homestand.
On the ladies side, the LIU women had to forfeit Wednesday night’s NEC opener vs. Sacred Heart at Downtown’s Wellness Center as well as Friday’s scheduled contest here against Merrimack due to COVID-19 protocols.
Still searching for their first win of the year, the Sharks (0-10, 0-2 NEC) will have to wait until at least Jan. 6 for their true conference opener at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The SFC ladies had already forfeited their first two NEC games, as per the league’s policy regarding COVID, but are also hoping to hoop it up Jan. 6 at St. Francis-Pennsylvania.
Over at Brooklyn College, the Bulldogs announced the next phase of their Return to Campus Plan, which will include allowing limited spectators into teh West Quad Gymnasium beginning New Year’s Day.
All vaccinated BC students will be allowed entrance to Bulldogs home games and the athletic department, “plans to expand the spectator policy to include vaccinated faculty and staff, members of the CUNY community and those fans external to the college/university shortly following the initial transitioning period.”
Spectators must always be masked and are encouraged to physically distance themselves from others to the extent recommended by facility managers.
There will also be no eating or drinking allowed at events, according to the school’s website.
The BC women’s team hasn’t played since Dec. 12, and has already cancelled or postponed four straight games. The Bulldogs (6-2) should be playing again by Jan. 10, when they visit CUNYAC rival John Jay College in New York City.
The Bulldogs’ men’s squad, which also had its last two games postponed and/or cancelled, is scheduled to host Medgar Evers on Jan. 6.
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