The LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball team was dealt a 106-78 road loss by Monmouth in its final regular-season contest of the year, snapping an eight-game winning streak. The Northeast Conference regular-season champion Blackbirds got off to a slow start, but roared back to take the lead only to see the Hawks pull away in the second half. The conference loss was just the second of the year for LIU, which finished 16-2 for the second straight year to tie a school record for NEC wins.
The Blackbirds (22-8) missed their first 12 field goal attempts at the outset of the game. Monmouth (12-19, 10-8) capitalized, running out to a quick 15-2 lead. The Hawk advantage would grow to 19-4 before LIU finally heated up.
Sophomore Jason Brickman hit a three-pointer to kick off an 18-0 LIU run. Junior Julian Boyd followed with a trey of his own before Brickman found him for an alley-oop dunk, adding a free-throw on the play. Junior Jamal Olasewere got in on the action, knocking down a three before capping the scoring outburst with a layup to give the Blackbirds a 22-19 lead.
The lead would not hold up as the Hawks refused to relent. Later in the half, Mike Myers Keitt was fouled on a three-pointer and the four-point play spotted Monmouth a 31-27 advantage. The Hawks would lead throughout the remainder of the half, taking a 48-42 cushion into the locker room thanks to an Austin Tillotson layup in the closing seconds.
Trailing 48-42, things took a turn for the worse for the Blackbirds in the second half. After senior Michael Culpo hit a three-pointer to bring LIU within one with 18 minutes left, Monmouth rattled off 12 of the next 13 points to build a 62-54 advantage. Brickman’s jumper ended the run and pulled the Blackbirds back within six.
Two minutes later, with LIU trailing by six, Monmouth Andrew Nicholas scored on a layup that sparked a 24-6 run that put the game out of reach for the Blackbirds. Nicholas added a three-pointer and a pair of jumpers in the scoring spurt on his way to finishing with 18 points.
Boyd scored a team-high 17 points for the Blackbirds. Brickman closed with 16, while C.J. Garner and junior Kenny Onyechi added 10 each. Boyd’s eight rebounds were a game high.
The Blackbirds, who earned the No. 1 seed in the NEC Tournament, will host eighth-seeded Sacred Heart on Thursday, March 1. Tip-off at the Wellness Center is set for 7 p.m.