Friday, November 9, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Morehead St. 77, LIU 74
By Kieran Darcy
WHAT IT MEANS: LIU-Brooklyn, playing in the first college basketball game at the brand-new Barclays Center, less than a mile from its campus, lost to Morehead State, 77-74, in the opening game of the Barclays Center Classic.
LIU, the two-time defending Northeast Conference and NEC tournament champ, was picked to win the NEC again this year. Morehead State was picked to finish fourth in the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference. So this is a disappointing loss for the Blackbirds.
Jack Perri, making his Division I head coaching debut after being promoted to replace Jim Ferry (who left for Duquesne), falls to 0-1 as well.
THE SKINNY: Neither team led by more than five in a rather sloppy first half, with each team committing 11 turnovers. Morehead State led 38-37 at the break, thanks to a 3-pointer by forward Maurice Lewis-Briggs in the closing seconds.
The game was tied at 47 early in the second half when Morehead State went on a 14-4 run, opening up a 61-51 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. LIU made a couple of surges, eventually cutting the lead to 75-74 on a Jamal Olasewere jumper with six seconds remaining. But following a pair of made free throws, C.J. Garner's game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit the front rim.
STAR WATCH: LIU senior forwards Julian Boyd and Olasewere, the highest-scoring returning tandem in college basketball, combined for 45 of the Blackbirds' 74 points. But Boyd left the game in the second half with an apparent injury and did not return. (Perri revealed after the game that Boyd was suffering from cramps, but will be fine.)
Senior forward Milton Chavis had 24 points to lead Morehead State.
NUMBER CRUNCH: LIU lost just one starter from last year's squad, shooting guard Michael Culpo. But they missed him Friday night. The Blackbirds shot just 2-for-16 from 3-point range. (The Eagles, on the other hand, shot 9-for-23 from beyond the arc.)
LIU also missed 11 free throws, going 22-for-33 from the charity stripe. That clearly cost them.
WHAT'S NEXT: LIU-Brooklyn next plays at Lafayette, a Patriot League foe, on Monday at 7 p.m. That's followed by games at Maryland (Nov. 16) and at No. 3 Kentucky (Nov. 23) -- a challenging early-season schedule, to say the least.