(Photo by Jason Schott)
At the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival on Sunday afternoon at Barclays Center, LIU Brooklyn stunned St. John’s in a 74-73 upset, and Kentucky rolled past Hofstra, 96-73.
LIU Brooklyn 74, St. John’s 73
LIU Brooklyn edged out St. John’s in a game that was a nail-biter throughout.
St. John’s led by 73-69 as Fedrico Mussini drained a three with 1:34 remaining.
Iverson Fleming responded with a three of his own 10 seconds later, and buried a jumper to make it 74-73 LIU with 26 seconds left.
St. John’s Shamorie Ponds and Malik Ellison each committed turnovers in the final 11 seconds, and Ponds missed a running jumper down the lane in the closing seconds.
Fleming said of hitting the game-winning basket, “It’s a mindset and our coach preaches to us to have ‘the will to win.’ That’s what I try to do every day I step on the court; have a will to win and to help my teammates as best as I can. At that point in time I was just trying to be aggressive and get the best shot possible and it fell.”
LIU Brooklyn was led by Fleming, who had 21 points on 7-17 shooting, including 3-5 on threes, with three rebounds and two assists. Jerome Frink had a double-double with 20 points (7-15, 2-4 threes) and 12 rebounds.
St. John’s was led by Ponds, who had 18 points on 6-16 shooting, including 4-8 on threes, with six rebounds and two assists. Darien Williams scored 15 points off the bench, on 4-6 shooting, and seven rebounds.
This is certainly an upset, as LIU Brooklyn is in the NEC and St. John’s is in the Big East, but it is not as much of one as it seems.
St. John’s is off to an uneven start, as they are 5-6 on the season after this loss, and one of their best forwards Yankuba Sima was granted his transfer release on Friday.
LIU Brooklyn Head Coach Jack Perri said of beating St. John’s, “It’s such a huge win. It doesn’t compare to making the NCAA tournament when we won a championship to get there, but it definitely puts us in a place we want to be. I’m trying to get these guys to understand that this is their last chance to create a legacy for themselves. It’s been a while since we went to the NCAA Tournament, and these guys have a chance to do something special if they really focus, and appreciate every single day and a game like this is obviously you feel some gratification from it. I think this will help these guys understand that this is why we prepare every single day, why I’m preaching that and your preparation is so important for every single day. When we talk about ‘the will to win’ we talk about winning every possession and to get that competitive edge. It’s a great win for our program.”
Perri said of the game, “Obviously that was an exciting game. Tremendous job by our guys; I was just so proud of our guys. We really were able to sustain things pretty well to keep that game close. We started out pretty well and then in the second half it looked like it can go the other way. I think they went up seven and Jerome Frink hit a big three and kind of calmed us down a little bit and then we had to make big plays down the stretch. Iverson Fleming made some huge plays; the pull-up three obviously and the double-clutch shot late in the shot clock was awesome and to win it on the defensive end, where we put so much time and effort every day in practice, was gratifying for us.”
Kentucky 96, Hofstra 73
Hofstra held in early in against one of the nation’s top powers, and were within three points, 36-33, late in the first half.
That was the trigger for Kentucky to turn it up and they closed the first half on a 12-0 run to lead 48-33 at halftime. The Wildcats led by as many as 31 in the second half.
Kentucky was led by Malik Monk, who had 20 points on 7-16 from the field, including 4-10 on threes, with four assists and a rebound. Isaiah Briscoe had 19 points (8-11 FG, 1-2 threes), with six assists and two rebounds. De’Aaron Fox had 15 points (5-8 FG), five rebounds, and two assists. Edrice Adebayo had 14 points (7-10 FG), seven rebounds, two blocks, and an assist.