BROOKLYN -- Looking for their second consecutive win, LIU Brooklyn returned to the Steinberg Wellness Center Friday evening to take on Sam Houston State. After taking a 32-28 halftime lead into the locker room, the Blackbirds could not sustain it, as untimely free throw shooting woes and a 16-0 run by the Bearkats (5-5) contributed to a 75-69 victory on the part of the visitors, dropping LIU to 5-4 on the season.
Possessions: LIU 78, Sam Houston State 76
Points Per Possession: Sam Houston State 0.99, (75 points in 76 possessions) LIU 0.88 (69 in 78)
eFG %: LIU .473, Sam Houston State .405
Free Throw Rate: Sam Houston State 65.5, LIU 52.7
Offensive Rebound %: Sam Houston State 32.6, LIU 21.6
Turnover Rate: LIU 21.8, Sam Houston State 18.4
What Sam Houston State did well: Draw fouls, especially in the second half, both before and after their game-defining 16-0 run. All told, the Bearkats attempted all but four of their 38 foul shots after the intermission. The parade to the charity stripe was a balanced one, too, with no player taking more than nine shots at the line as Sam Houston State ended the evening shooting free throws at a 74 percent clip, as opposed to the 59 percent mark registered by LIU.
What LIU did well: Aside from the 17 turnovers and missed free throws that head coach Jack Perri would later lament, the Blackbirds took many smart shots and got out in transition at various points on the night. Joel Hernandez, whose 16 points tied Aakim Saintil for the team lead, was the catalyst of the offense, while Jerome Frink chipped in with an impressive 14-point, 8-rebound effort to land three LIU players in double figures.
Aurimas Majauskas led Sam Houston State and all scorers with 21 points, and the 6-8 forward also collected a commendable .615 efficiency rating for his 22 minutes of play. His frontcourt partner, Torry Butler, posted an effectiveness factor of 21 in the win, an impressive figure considering the 3-for-12 night he had from the floor. However, it was Hernandez who was most efficient despite the losing effort, collecting an effectiveness factor of 24 for LIU.
Final Thoughts from LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri:
"We scraped together a first half, even though we didn't play well. I thought we tried to do a little bit too much ourselves, even in the first half, because we just defended decently. We did a decent job of not fouling, we did a good job on the glass, I thought those were important things that got us the lead, and then in the second half, we fouled way too much. They took 34 free throws in the second half...that's just a ridiculous number. That was probably the biggest thing."
On LIU's 13-0 run to counter a 16-0 Sam Houston State run:
"They actually did a pretty good job of keeping their poise. They got a little nasty. In some huddles, they kept looking at each other and saying 'hey, let's go, let's go. There's a lot of time left, we've done it before.' We knew that we could come back because we've had the ability, we have the talent to do it. Obviously, we got within two, and we still missed too many free throws. I think we went 0-for-2, Joel (Hernandez) went 0-for-2 on free throws which could have the cut the lead, and then I think we came down and ended up fouling again, so (it was) just a little bit too much to overcome. I'm just disappointed, I thought it was a winnable game. They played well, though."