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Michael Culpo shoots a three-pointer for LIU. February

Michael Culpo shoots a three-pointer for LIU. February 24, 2011. Credit: LIU Athletics

Saying you are impressed with LIU might be the understatement of this young century. The Blackbirds won their ninth straight game on Thursday night, out running Bryant, 95-84, in front of 1,008 at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center in downtown Brooklyn.

It was without a doubt a high-scoring affair. But what made the victory more impressive was that Jim Ferry’s team withstood a 43-point, nine-rebound effort by Bryant freshman Alex Francis.

LIU countered Francis’ effort with tremendous balance. Junior guard Michael Culpo led the way with a career-high 22 points. Sophomore Julian Boyd had 20 points, David Hicks had 19 and eight rebounds and Jamal Olasewere chipped in 13 points.

It was the typical balanced effort for the Blackbirds (23-5, 15-2), who won their ninth straight. On the season LIU, which averages 82.2 points per game, has four players scoring in double figures and a fifth who is averaging 9.4.

And this shouldn't be a one-year thing for the Blackbirds. With three sophomores in their starting lineup and two other underclassmen in the rotation, LIU should be force in the NEC for years to come.

"That's what the goal is," said Ferry, an Elmont native. "To build the program to a level that it can stay as one of the top teams in our conference."


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