The Blackbirds bounced back again Thursday night, overcoming a 14-point deficit early in the second half for another win in the Battle of Brooklyn.
Long Island University came back against rival and host St. Francis College after the break to pull off a 78–68 victory. The Blackbirds shot 75 percent in the second half and hit seven 3-pointers, outscoring the Terriers 57–38 in the frame.
“The whole year I’ve used the word resiliency,” said Olaswere, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds. “We show a lot of resiliency when we are down. We don’t just give up.”
The victory is their fourth straight, all in Northeast Conference play, and their fifth straight win over St. Francis (8–10, 4–3). The winning streak comes after the Blackbirds (9–10, 4–3) lost six straight after losing star Julian Boyd for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in December.
His team is playing its best basketball of the season and is now back on the hunt for a three-peat conference title after first-place Bryant suffered its first loss Thursday. Long Island University coach Jack Perri couldn’t have been happier with his team’s shooting, defense and rebounding after half time.
“You can’t ask for anything more,” he said.
C.J. Gardner scored 17 of his 22 points after the break. Brandon Thompson added 14 points and point guard Jason Brickman (10 assists) consistently go his teammates open looks during a 26–6 second-half run that put LIU up 44–40 with 11:29 left in the game.
“He’s such a great passer, the best passer I’ve ever played with, one of the best passers I’ve ever seen,” Gardner said of Brickman. “With him, he’s always looking to make the pass, you just got to be able to cut. If you’re a shooter just get open in the corner and he’ll find you.”
St. Francis College – led by Jalen Cannon’s 21 points and 10 rebounds – just couldn’t maintain the energy and execution it had in the first half. The Terriers will have to figure out how to sustain their A-game for another 40 minutes if they hope to prevail against the Blackbirds when they meet again at noon on Feb. 10 at the Barclays Center.
“They threw the first punch and we couldn’t punch back,” said Terriers forward Akeem Johnson. “They made a run and we didn’t exactly know how to respond.”Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk
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