In their first home game as the LIU Sharks, the men’s basketball team gave up an initial 12-point lead to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks in an 87-74 loss on November 8.
This was the home opener for the newly christened LIU Sharks, in the Steinberg Wellness Center, as they attempted to bounce back from their season opening loss to the Rhode Island Rams on November 5.
Only five minutes into the first half, the LIU Sharks gained the initial lead of the game at a hot start. All 12 points were in the paint.
“We didn’t shoot a high percentage from three [pointers],” says LIU men’s basketball Head Coach, Derek Kellogg. Kellogg is currently in his third season as LIU Sharks head coach, whereas he led his team to winning the Northeast Conference Championship and making a NCAA D-I appearance, in early-2018.
The Sharks shot 8-33, 24.2 percent, from the 3-point field compared to the River Hawks’ 40 percent from the same arc.
“Tonight, we didn’t have the energy coming off the bench,” Kellogg said. The Sharks had nine bench points in the game.
Another major factor of LIU’s loss was rebounding and second chance points. The Sharks’ had nine offensive rebounds to the River Hawks’ 18. LIU also had seven second chance points to the River Hawks’ 23.
LIU’s redshirt senior swingman, Raiquan Clark, scored 21 points from 9-12 from the field. He scored 17 of those points in the first half, 8-9. Clark was also named to last season’s Northeast Conference ALL-NEC Team.
“He’s huge”, Kellogg on Clark’s play, “Him picking up his fourth [foul] and being in foul trouble the whole game really hurt us.”
Kellogg continues, “He’s probably the one guy on the team that we need to have on the floor.”
LIU’s redshirt junior forward, Ty Flowers, had a double-double in Friday’s game; he scored 19 points and gained 15 rebounds.
“In the first half he looked great and down the stretch in the second half, he gave up two free-throw block-outs. He looked really tired out there, he played a full forty [minute game],” Kellogg on Flowers’ play. “We have to formulate our hunch.”
“There’s a good community between the two schools,” says Kellogg concerning the #OneLIU merge, “In the long run, it’s a great vision to have one Division I program instead of different levels and different teams.”
The LIU Sharks will go onto face the George Mason Patriots on November 13 at 7pm in the Eagle Bank Arena. This game will be presented by ESPN+.