By Michael Otero
On Saturday, Nov. 15, the men’s basketball team (0-2) opened up their 2014-15 campaign with a 62-71 loss against Franklin Pierce (1-1) on day one of the LIU Post Tip-Off Tournament at Pratt Recreation Center in Brookville, N.Y.
Up 11-9 just over four minutes into the game, the Pioneers went on a quick 7-0 spurt to widen their advantage to 18-9 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the half. Senior forward Charles McCann scored the first four points of the run while senior guard P.J. Torres capped it off with a lay-up. The Ravens fought back, though, cutting the deficit to 25-20 before a 10-0 burst by LIU made it a 36-20 game at the 2:01 mark. Senior guard Isiah Stokley accounted for seven of the points while sophomore forward Greg Dotson provided the energy with a one-handed stuff.
At halftime, the Pioneers held a 36-28 advantage, mainly because of their ability to get good shot opportunities. Stokley led the Green and Gold at that point with 11 points. The Ravens opened up the second half strong and went on a 20-4 run over a seven-minute stretch to go in front 48-42. The Pioneers re-gained the lead on a Torres lay-up, but the Ravens prowess from beyond the arc was too much to overcome. The visitors shot 7-13 from downtown in the half and willed their way to the nine-point victory.
Torres played an all-around great game, finishing with 17 points and 10 boards to go along with five assists and two blocks. Not to be outdone, Stokley dropped 14 points and snagged nine boards while McCann tallied 13 points.
The Pioneers returned to action on Sunday, Nov. 16 when they welcomed American International (2-0) to Brookville, N.Y. The Yellow Jackets were led by senior guard Bobby Harris and senior forward Marcus Porter who each had 20+ points in the double-digit victory.
The first half was tightly contested, as neither side was able to grab the upper hand. Both teams played relatively even basketball throughout the half and it translated to the scoreboard, as the Pioneers held a slim 28-27 advantage at the break. The Lions came out of the break strong and dominated the game in every facet, outscoring the hosts 50-35 in the second half. The Lions shot 44 percent from the field and were hot from three-point land, as they shot close to 60 percent for the match.
The Pioneers were led by Dotson who had 18 points, grabbed eight boards, and rejected two shots. Junior guard Akosa Maduegbunam had 17 points to go along with two steals. Head coach Erik Smiles hit the hardwood again today when the play Bloomfield College. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Pratt Recreation Center.
After dropping their season opener to Adelphi University, the women’s basketball team (1-1) squeaked past the Setters from Pace University (1-1) on Saturday, Nov. 15 in Garden City, N.Y.
The Pioneers dominated the paint, outscoring the Setters 34-16 down low. The hosts started out strong, grabbing a quick 8-0 lead, but Pace regained their composure and evened up the score at 13 at the 10:41 mark. After a jumper by freshman guard Jasmine Bailey put the Pioneers up two, Pace went on 19-10 run to take a 32-25 lead into halftime. The Green and Gold were led by senior guard Chelsea Williams, who had 14 points.
The Pioneers kept the game close throughout the entire second half, but were finally able to leap-frog the Setters and gain the lead with just over five minutes left on a pair of free-throws from Williams. After a jump shot from junior forward Nyasia Davis pushed the lead to 58- 55, the LIU defense came up big with some stops down the stretch to preserve the first victory of the season. Junior guard Quanisha Ratley finished with 10 points and two assists while senior guard Ashley Castle added nine points and grabbed eight rebounds. Williams led all scorers with 29 points.
Head coach Deirdre Moore and the Pioneers return to action today for their home opener against the Huskies from Bloomfield College. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.