The win was also the Blackbirds first NEC victory of the season
“Obviously that feels good to get our first league win,” Blackbirds Head Coach Jack Perri said after the game. “That’s absolutely the best we’ve played. I though we did a good job, pretty consistently, of defending and rebounding. And when we defend and rebound, we can run and that was a big part of it. We got the 86 points and it was a great group effort.”
LIU Brooklyn had an outstanding game along the boards. Grabbing 40 rebounds, 27 of them coming on the defensive end. As a team they shot 58.5 percent (31-53) from the field and 53.3 percent (8-15) from three-point range.
Forward E.J. Reed had a career best 21 points in the victory, as well as two steals and an assist. C.J. Garner added 19 points of his own, along with two assists. The Blackbirds had four players in double-digit scoring by the end of the game.
“I felt good,” Reed said about his game. “Coach told me to be a little more aggressive tonight. Definitely try and get to the rim, also shooting the ball from three, so it felt good to be playing with these guys out there.”
And Coach Perri was pleased with the offensive production from his squad as a whole.
“Everyone got into the mix,” he said. “The way they play certainly helps with them trapping and playing full court we can run. As long as we didn’t turn, which we did a really good job in the first half.”
The Mountaineers did give LIU a little bit of a scare midway through the second half. It started with Rashad Whack hit a three pointer to cut the Blackbirds lead to 60-52. Shivaughn Wiggins hit two free throws to further cut the lead to 60-54 and then Wiggins scored on the fast break to make it 60-54.
“I was close to calling a timeout when they made that run,” Perri said of the Mountaineers run. “And then C.J. hit that three on the next possession… I think our guys just kept playing.”
The Blackbirds would quickly expanded the lead and didn’t look back, with the game ending 86-72 Blackbirds.
The win was not only the team’s first win in six games, but it was their first win at the Barclays center. They have played and lost to both Lafayette and Seton Hall in the new Brooklyn arena.
The Blackbirds don’t play at Barclays Center until February 10 against St. Francis and their next game on the schedule is Thursday against Fairleigh Dickinson.
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