BROOKYLN – Jashaun Agosto connected on two free throws with one second remaining to lift defending Northeast Conference Champion LIU-Brooklyn to an 83-81 come-from-behind win over Brown Friday evening in the season opener for the Bears.
The Blackbirds won their second game of the season without a loss, while Brown falls to 0-1.
“That was a very difficult loss, especially after fighting back from a big early deficit like we did,” said Brown head coach Mike Martin. “We did some good things to go from down 15 points to up 11 points, but we have to do a better job at both ends when playing with a late lead. It’s a good learning opportunity for us and I’m confident we will grow from it.”
Brown held a 79-76 lead with 1:57 remaining in the game following a basket by junior Zach Hunsaker.
LIU-Brooklyn went on a 5-0 run to pull ahead, 81-79, on two free throws by Eral Penn and a three-point play by Julian Batts with 1:08 remaining.
Bears’ senior Obi Okolie connected on a layup on a pass from sophomore Tamenang Choh, tying the game, 81-81, with 46 seconds left on the clock. Agosto was fouled by Choh with one second left and sank the two free throws.
Brown was able to call timeout at mid-court with .8 seconds remaining, but sophomore Desmond Cambridge was unable to connect on a trey at the buzzer.
There were 54 fouls whistled in the foul-marred game. Brown connected on 19-of-31 free throws, while the Blackbirds converted 25-of-36 free throws.
Nine different Brown players scored points, led by junior Brandon Anderson and Okolie with 17 points each. Okolie connected on 4-of-4 field goals, including 3-of-3 treys, and 6-of-8 free throws.
Cambridge was in foul trouble throughout the game and finished with 13 points and four blocked shots. Junior Josh Howard also scored in double figures for the Bears with 11 points. Choh just missed a double-double with nine points and a game high 12 rebounds.
Batts paced four LIU double figure scorers with a game high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field. Raiquan Clark had 14 points, while Agosto finished with 12 points.
The Bears struggled early in the game, falling behind by as many as 15 points in the first half, 39-24, on a dunk by Raul Frias with 5:13 remaining in the half.
Brown shook off the rust and outscored the Blackbirds 16-4 to end the half and trail, 43-40, at intermission. Okolie scored nine first half points, while Cambridge added eight points to pace the Bears.
Sophomore Matt DeWolf’s layup at the 18:37 mark of the second half gave Brown a 46-45 lead. The Bears continued to have the better of play and pulled ahead by a 60-50 margin on two free throws by Chris Sullivan with 11:57 left.
Two free throws by Anderson with 5:47 remaining gave Brown its biggest lead, 75-64.
The Blackbirds clawed back with a 12-2 run and pulled to within one point, 77-76, with 2:28 left.
The Bears are back in action again on Sunday, traveling to Newark, N.J. to battle NJIT. Tip-off is 2 p.m.