New York Colleges: Morehead State Eagles

Rapid Reaction: Morehead St. 77, LIU 74

November, 9, 2012
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.

W2W4: Barclays Center Classic

November, 9, 2012
The college basketball season officially begins on Friday, with a whopping 125 Division 1 games on the schedule.

We'll be at the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn -- a doubleheader featuring LIU-Brooklyn versus Morehead State at 5:45 p.m. (on ESPN3), followed by No. 3 Kentucky against Maryland at 8:30 p.m. (on ESPN).

Here are three things to watch for:

A NEW ERA: The brand-new Barclays Center has already hosted concerts and Brooklyn Nets basketball since its grand opening earlier this fall. On Friday night, it will host college hoops for the very first time.

Having Kentucky, the defending national champs, open the new building for college hoops is a major coup. All in all, the Barclays Center will host six preseason Top 25 teams in the coming weeks, including consensus No. 1 Indiana. It will also host the Atlantic 10 conference tournament in March.

THE MAIN EVENT: John Calipari brings a new-look Wildcats squad to Brooklyn. Six -- yes, six -- players from last year's national championship squad were selected in the subsequent NBA draft, including four in the first round.

Why is Kentucky ranked No. 3 in the country then? Well, because Calipari has reeled in yet another outstanding recruiting class -- including three McDonald's High School All-Americans.

It will take some time for this young team to gel. But you'll see lots of raw talent on the floor Friday night. In particular, keep an eye on 6-foot-10 freshman Nerlens Noel -- the top recruit in the country, who is already drawing comparisons to former Kentucky star and No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis.

Maryland, under second-year coach Mark Turgeon, is picked to finish sixth in the ACC. The Terrapins' leading returning scorers are sophomore guard Nick Faust (8.9 ppg) and senior forward James Padgett (8.8 ppg).

THE APPETIZER: LIU-Brooklyn will certainly get a boost from the Barclays Center, which is located less than a mile from campus. The Blackbirds are scheduled to play three games there this season, also facing Seton Hall on Dec. 22 and St. Francis (NY) on Feb. 10.

LIU is the two-time defending Northeast Conference champion, and is picked to win the NEC again this year. But if the Blackbirds pull the three-peat, they'll do it with a new coach at the helm. Jim Ferry departed for Duquesne in the offseason, and assistant coach Jack Perri is now in charge. But NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd is back, along with three other starters.

Morehead State, an NCAA Tournament team in 2009 and 2011, is coming off an 18-15 season, and is picked to finish fourth in the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eagles have a new coach too, after Donnie Tyndall left for Southern Miss in April -- Sean Woods, the former Kentucky point guard, who led Mississippi Valley State to the Big Dance last season. Their leading returning scorer is junior forward Drew Kelly (10.2 ppg).

Newark's Faried savors NCAA tourney upset

March, 17, 2011

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe NBA can wait, because Kenneth Faried has at least one more college game to play.
Recap | Box score | Photos

DENVER -- Morehead State's Kenneth Faried was lying on the Pepsi Center floor, hands over his eyes, writhing around. If you didn't watch what had just transpired, you might have thought he was in agony.

But the native of Newark, N.J., was feeling no pain. Rather, pure joy.

It's just a dream, Faried thought. Did we really just beat Louisville? Did we really just make a statement for the NCAA and people around the world?

Yes, it was a dream -- a dream come true.

“It feels good to know that we kinda messed up some people's brackets," Faried said after the Eagles, seeded 13th, stunned the fourth-seeded Cardinals 62-61 Thursday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"We quieted a lot of people and opened a lot of eyes."

Louisville coach Rick Pitino was the one in pain after the game. "This is as tough a loss as I've had in coaching," he said, "and I've been coaching a long time."

Andrew Carpenean/US PresswireKenneth Faried hit the floor after Morehead State's victory over Louisville.

This game will be remembered for Demonte Harper's one shining moment -- his long bomb from beyond the top of the key with 4.2 seconds left, which gave Morehead State the lead. Harper, the Eagles' second-leading scorer, had an off game up until that point (five points, 2-for-9 shooting, 0-for-5 from 3-point range). But coach Donnie Tyndall still put the ball in his hands for that final shot, following a timeout.

"During the media timeout, Coach said, 'I dreamt about this last night, this exact position we would be in,'" Harper said. "He said, 'I know exactly where I'm going to. I'm going to put it right in your hands, Demonte. I don't want you to drive to the hole, I want you to pull up and win the game off a 3-pointer.'

"I said, 'Coach, I'm going to hit the shot.'"

That instantly becomes the stuff of college basketball legend. But Morehead State would not have been in that position -- in this game, in this tournament -- without Faried. The 6-foot-8 senior from Technology High School in Newark is the nation's leading rebounder (14.5 per game), and he pulled down 17 big ones on Wednesday afternoon.

"[The ball's] mine. It's nobody else's," Faried said, when asked about his mentality when it comes to rebounding. "I mean, I believe in my teammates. But I believe every rebound is mine. So I just pursue it like it is."

"All coaches use the cliché that [for] rebounders, every shot is a pass to you," Pitino said. "[Faried's] the only one I've seen since Dennis Rodman that truly makes that statement true."

Faried struggled offensively against Louisville: He came in averaging 17.6 points per game, but had just 12 on Wednesday, shooting 4-for-17 from the field. But his two clutch free throws with 31 seconds left cut Louisville's lead to 61-59, and his rebound of Elisha Justice's missed one-and-one free throw gave the Eagles a chance to pull some March Madness magic in the final seconds.

"I have no quit in me," Faried said. "My teammates believe in me, my coaches believe in me. So I just kept grinding and grinding, and kept spinning off, and kept trying to make the moves in order to get the rebounds."

He also came up big on the last play of the game to preserve the victory. Louisville's Mike Marra got the ball at the last second and went up for a jump shot; Faried was right on him, and went for the block.

"I said, they're not gonna call this foul, 'cause it's the last shot," Faried said. "I've learned over the years that they don't call that foul. ... So if I fouled him, then hey, it's not a big deal to me. But I kept my hands up, and fortunately I just hit all ball."

"You can't really expect the refs to make a call," Marra said. "Faried played good defense."

Faried's journey from Newark to Morehead has been well-chronicled. He wasn't heavily recruited by schools close to home, so he ended up taking his talents to a town of about 6,000 residents in eastern Kentucky. And over his four years there, he has evolved into a likely first-round NBA draft pick, thanks to his unique ability to get his hands on missed shots.

"People were baffled," Faried said. "People would ask me why I'm going there, why I'm going there. They're not gonna do nothin'.

"But my family believed in me, and my friends -- some of them believed in me," Faried added, laughing. "It all worked out for the best."

Yes, it has. And before he moves on to the next level, Kenneth Faried has at least one more college game to play.

"I'm hoping the world knows [Morehead State] now," Faried said. "I pray so. But we got a game on Saturday. So watch that one."