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Eral Penn scores career high - Mar 7, 2019


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DAVID EDOLE
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Eral Penn
Eral Penn (201-F) and the No. 6-seeded LIU Brooklyn men's basketball team (16-15) had a big team effort in the Pitt Center Wednesday night, rallying to upset the No. 3 seeded Sacred Heart Pioneers, 71-62. With the first round win, the Blackbirds advance to the Northeast Conference tournament semifinals. Penn, a sophomore, had a career-high 15 points, along with a team-high nine rebounds and three blocks. He shot 4-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range. LIU will take on top-seeded Saint Francis University, Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m. on ESPN3

The Blackbirds came out on fire early in the contest, using three pointers from Raiquan Clark, Julian Batts, Ty Flowers and Penn to go up 14-4 on the home team. LIU would eventually widen that lead to 21-6 with 12:20 to play, but Sacred Heart would start to go on a run from there. The Pioneers would go on an 11-0 over the next five minutes that would cut LIU's lead to 21-17. The Blackbirds would widen the lead back up to eight points, but in the last two minute of the half, Sacred Heart came storming back, as LIU's hot shooting cooled. The Pioneers would end the half outscoring LIU 13-5, including a three pointer as the buzzer sounded that gave the home team a 31-30 advantage at the halftime break.

In the second half, the home team opened with back-to-back baskets that gave them a five point lead, but Agosto and Penn would negate that in about 30 seconds. The duo would hit back-to-back three-pointers 32 seconds apart that put the Blackbirds back on top, 37-35 with 17:30 to play.

From there, the two teams went to war. The score would be close for the rest of the game, and SHU would rally back to tie it up and take a two-point lead with just over seven minutes left to play. But Penn hit a three-pointer at 6:23 that put the Blackbirds back on top, 52-51. Just over a minute later, junior Ashtyn Bradley had a big offensive board and pass the ball to Penn, who would put it away to give LIU the 54-51 advantage. The Blackbirds wouldn't trail again.

Though Sacred Heart would close the gap to just two points in the final 37 seconds, 64-62, Clark and Agosto would go 4-for-4 from the free throw line to widen the lead to 68-62. And with three seconds left, Clark had a huge steal on defense, made the layup in transition, and converted the and-one to put an exclamation point on LIU's victory, 71-62.

"I thought coming in that both teams have been playing very well," head coach Derek Kellogg said in the post game press conference. "Sacred Heart does a great job in transition and they are a very well-coached team but fortunately, we were able to come out victorious in a hard-fought victory in a game that was very competitive."
  



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