By Dustin Niles
Layout & Design Editor
Darian Anderson led the Knights to an 83-66 win over the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds on Jan. 21 with a 25-point effort. The Knights took a 17-11 lead eight minutes into the first half and never looked back. The game was marked by strong individual performances from Anderson and junior guard Stephan Jiggetts, who contributed 14 points, six assists and four rebounds.
The game was also a remarkable defensive effort by the Knights, who only allowed the Blackbirds 20 points in the paint and only four in the first half. The Knights forced 18 turnovers this game, and averaged 17 per game in the five previous games. For this one, the Knights scored 15 points off of those forced turnovers.
With the game, the Knights moved into a first-place NEC tie with Mount Saint Mary’s with a 7-1 record. After a win against St. Francis College Brooklyn on Jan. 26 and a close OT loss to Bryant on Jan. 28, FDU is second in the NEC standings with an 8-2 NEC record and a 10-11 overall record.
The game against LIU Brooklyn started fast, as Mike Holloway raced down the court to score the game’s first points off a layup. Soon, the Knights built up a 17-11 lead eight minutes into the first half. A series of shots by LIU’s Jashaun Agosto, Julian Batts and Jerome Frink brought LIU within four points, making the score 20-17 with 9:10 left in the first half. Then the Knights battled for 10 unanswered points over four minutes. A layup by Stephan Jiggetts brought the score to 40-28 going into the half.
The Knights started the second half with a three-pointer by Nadi Beciri. The Knights played with a consistent offense and a strong defense all throughout the second half. The lead grew, and after a three pointer by Ghassan Nehme, the Knights led the Blackbirds 57-43 with 10 minutes to go in the game. The Knights scored 12 straight points off of free throws during the second half. It was not a surprise, as the Knights were hot from the foul line, sinking 21 of 25. The Knights are the NEC’s top team from the foul line.
After the 12 straight points for of free throws, the Knights ended their day the way it began – with a layup by Mike Holloway. The Knights walked away with comfortable 83-66 win over the Blackbirds.
After their win against St. Francis College Brooklyn and their loss to Bryant, the Knights begin a three-game home stand on Feb. 2 against NEC opponent Sacred Heart. The Knights will then play a huge game against Wagner on Feb. 4 and finish the home stand against Central Connecticut State University on Feb. 9. Their coming home stand is good news for the Knights, since they’re 6-1 when playing at home, compared to 3-9 on the road.
At this point in the season, all games have playoff implications. FDU is chasing Mount St. Mary’s. who leads the NEC with a 9-1 conference record.
LIU Brooklyn follows FDU closely with a 7-3 record. The Knights will go head-to-head with LIU Brooklyn in Brooklyn on Feb. 11 and will face Mount St. Mary’s at home on Feb. 18, the Knights’ last home game of the season. The Knights dropped their last game against Mount St. Mary’s, a 70-77 loss on Jan. 12 on Mount St. Mary’s turf.
FDU has just eight games left to go in their season. If the Knights continue with their strong defense, their consistency from the free throw line and their strong individual performances, they will be competing for a high seed in the NEC Tournament. That high seed is important, as having home court has proven to be a huge advantage for almost every team across the NEC, including FDU. If all goes right, we may be look at a repeat championship for the Knights.