Looking to regain momentum in its quest for an unprecedented third-straight Northeast Conference (NEC) championship, the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team will travel to Staten Island this Sunday for a nationally televised game against Wagner College.
LIU faces their toughest local rival in one of the NEC’s most difficult environments: the 2,400-seat Spiro Sports Center. ESPNU will broadcast Sunday night’s game so rabid Wagner fans—cloaked in white—will jam their arena to cheer their beloved Seahawks to victory.
A home court advantage against LIU hasn’t always translated into Wagner wins.
Last year the Blackbirds stormed into a packed Spiro Center and silenced the frenzied Seahawk masses with a 73-66 victory. Junior point guard Jason Brickman and senior forward Julian Boyd were integral in securing LIU’s exciting win, but the game’s difference maker was senior forward Jamal Olasewere, who poured in 18 points and calmly sank crucial free throws down the stretch.
After a dismal 9-point effort in LIU’s 83-71 loss this Thursday at Mount St. Mary’s, Olasewere might want to look at tape of last year’s Wagner game to generate positive vibes going into the Blackbirds’ (15-12, 10-5 NEC) biggest match-up so far in this season.
Wagner (15-11, 9-6 NEC) has a lot riding on the outcome of Sunday’s contest. The Seahawks currently hold fifth place in the conference, with the top four regular season finishers hosting first-round games in the upcoming NEC playoffs. A win over third-place LIU will greatly boost Wagner’s chance of holding a playoff game in the Spiro Center’s friendly confines.
The Blackbirds need a win to stay a half game in front of hard-charging Quinnipiac (13-13; 9-5 NEC). The Bobcats, winners of five straight, close out their season in Brooklyn on March 2 against the Blackbirds.
To avoid a first round NEC tournament re-match-against the dangerous Seahawks, the Blackbirds will need to come up big on Staten Island and knock off Wagner for the fifth time in their last six meetings.
Contact Greg Fox, LIU Associate Director of Athletics, at 718-488-1018 about ticket availability for Sunday’s game,. Can’t make the trip to Staten Island? Tune into ESPNU on Sunday night at 8 p.m.