Size hasn’t mattered for the LIU Blackbirds. Whether they’re facing a NBA size front line like they did against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament last year or a smallish frontline most mid major teams offer, LIU hits the boards no matter who the opponent is.
It happened for the Blackbirds in Sunday’s 78-75 win over Quinnipiac in A NEC semifinal. Quinnipiac featured a front line that included 6-9, 240-pound Ousmane Drame, 6-7, 231-pound Ike Azotam and 6-7, 235-pound Jamee Jackson.
LIU (24-8) wasn’t intimidated and won the battle of the boards, 38-33. It’s worth noting because Quinnipiac is second in the nation in rebounding margin (10.4).
That didn’t deter 6-7, 240-pound junior Julian Boyd. “We do rebounding drills every day,” said Boyd, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. “It doesn’t matter who we play, everybody rebounds for us.”
LIU, which averages 38.6 rebounds per game, has done it with depth this season. In addition to Boyd, the Blackbirds also have 6-7 Jamal Olasewere, and 6-9 reserve forward Kenny Onyechi. There is also former Bay Shore standout Booker Hucks, who gave the Blackbirds several critical minutes on Sunday.
“The rest of the guys can do what me and Jamal can do,” Boyd said of his team’s rebounding.
Hucks had four points and five rebounds in just six minutes on Sunday.
Boyd said playing against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament last year helped his teammates learn the value of getting position. North Carolina’s front line features, 7-foot Tyler Zeller, 6-11 John Henson and 6-8 Harrison Barnes.
LIU coach Jim Ferry is proud of his team’s depth in the front court and said: “I think we have the deepest front court in the conference.”
LIU will host Robert Morris in the NEC Tournament Final on Wednesday night.