The LIU Blackbirds aren't your typical team. They are the sixth-highest scoring team in the country, yet the highest scoring player on their team only averages 13.1 ppg. They are the third-highest rebounding squad in the NCAA, but not a single player averages more than nine boards a contest. To put it simply, they are one of the most well rounded team out there.
They enter tonight's game at home, the Wellness and Recreational Athletic Complex, a.k.a. the WRAC, having won 12 games in a row, the longest streak in the nation. They are 13-2 at home, the last time they lost in their tiny gym in the northern part of Brooklyn was to these same Colonials, on December 3, a 70-69 defeat in their first conference game. They also have 13 road wins on the season, which is the most in the country.
Their leading scorer and rebounder, Julian Boyd, is coming back this season after being forced to sit all of last season with a heart condition. Part of his heart was enlarged, and he was unable to play. However, he has played with quite a bit of heart this season after receiving the news last summer that he was okay to go, and has been the spark for this LIU team.
Head coach Jim Ferry, who has taken this team with the good and the bad was named the NEC coach of the year, and no doubt deserves it after the dominance this team has had over nearly all their opponents. The coach is also recognized with his unique recruiting tactics. Only two of his players are from the tri-state area. He has one player from Long Island, and another from New Jersey. The rest are mostly from Texas and Canada, and a few others are scattered about the country. Ferry believed that since some of the other schools had monopolies over the good players in the NYC area, that it would be best to find players that hoped to play in New York City.
They are one of the most unselfish teams that you will find. They all split playing time and ball time, and no one complains. They are one of the best all around teams out there. One of the core players is Jamal Olasaware, who has been a consistent spark. Whenever his team can't find a shot, he can take the ball to the hole and either get two or get fouled, and sometimes both. He can also hit the three and find his teammates when they are open.
So make sure you look out tonight when they host Robert Morris at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2. LIU fans planning on doing a "white-out" in which all the fans and students where white to the game in support of the Blackbirds whose main colors are Black and White.
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