LIU
WAGNER

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LIU Brooklyn shocks NYC rival Wagner to win NEC title

NEW YORK (AP) LIU Brooklyn's two best players raised their game. Wagner couldn't buy a basket. And the Blackbirds are NCAA Tournament-bound after shocking their New York City rival.

Joel Hernandez had 32 points and seven rebounds, Raiquan Clark had 20 points and eight rebounds and LIU Brooklyn beat Wagner 71-61 on Tuesday night to win the Northeast Conference Tournament title and earn its first NCAA Tournament bid in five years.

The fourth-seeded Blackbirds (18-16) handed top-seeded Wagner (23-9) its first loss this season on its Staten Island campus as the Seahawks struggled from the field all night, shooting 30 percent.

''We couldn't throw a ball in the ocean,'' Wagner coach Bashir Mason said. ''I thought my guys battled. They played extremely hard and to the game plan. You have to give LIU Brooklyn a lot of credit. They prepared. Their two best players stepped up. It's a tough pill to swallow, but I told our guys this is something that's going to help us get better. We'll learn from this, grow from this and get better from this moment.''

Romone Saunders had 17 points and Devin Liggeons had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Seahawks.

LIU Brooklyn never trailed after Hernandez converted a three-point play with 12:05 left in the first half, and the Blackbirds went on a 15-2 run to take a 34-19 lead into halftime.

''I thought he put us on his back in the first half,'' first-year LIU Brooklyn coach Derek Kellog said of Hernendez. ''I thought he gave us a nice cushion that we needed, and then every time Wagner made a run he came up with a big basket or a big play. I told him all along that's what a fifth-year senior is supposed to do if he wants to elongate his career and give himself an opportunity to play at the highest level in the NCAA Tournament.''

Wagner cut the deficit to seven three times in the final six minutes, the last time with 59 seconds left, but the Seahawks didn't score again.

Hernandez made two free throws with 38 seconds left to seal it as ''MVP'' chants rained down from the LIU Brooklyn fans. He was officially named the tournament MVP after the game, and he gets to play at least one more time.

''I was thinking about that, especially coming into the game,'' Hernandez said. ''I wanted to make sure I played my hardest and I left everything out on the floor. Even if we lost, I didn't want to have any regrets after the game, so I just wanted to make sure I played hard for my brothers on the court and I feel like I did that.''

BIG PICTURE

LIU Brooklyn: The Blackbirds made the NCAA Tournament three straight years from 2011-13 and are headed back for the first time since then.

Wagner: The Seahawks missed a chance for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 and will go to the NIT as the NEC regular-season champion. They also won the regular-season title two years ago.

BATTLE OF THE BOROUGHS

This was just the second time two New York City teams faced off in the NEC title game. The previous time was also at Spiro Center in 2003, when Wagner beat St. Francis Brooklyn.

UP NEXT

LIU Brooklyn: On to the NCAA Tournament.

Wagner: On to the NIT.

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Key Players
J. Agosto
3 G
J. Cooper
10 G
36.5 Min. Per Game 36.5
14.6 Pts. Per Game 14.6
6.2 Ast. Per Game 6.2
5.3 Reb. Per Game 5.3
39.9 Field Goal % 42.1
33.1 Three Point % 39.2
75.6 Free Throw % 73.9
  Lost ball turnover on Blake Francis, stolen by Joel Hernandez 31.0
+ 1 Joel Hernandez made 2nd of 2 free throws 38.0
+ 1 Joel Hernandez made 1st of 2 free throws 38.0
  Personal foul on Nigel Jackson 38.0
  Lost ball turnover on JoJo Cooper, stolen by Joel Hernandez 38.0
  Offensive rebound by JoJo Cooper 39.0
  JoJo Cooper missed tip-in 41.0
  Offensive rebound by JoJo Cooper 41.0
  Blake Francis missed 3-pt. jump shot 43.0
  Traveling violation turnover on Raiquan Clark 44.0
  Defensive rebound by Raiquan Clark 46.0
Team Stats
Points 71 61
Field Goals 25-47 (53.2%) 21-70 (30.0%)
3-Pointers 5-14 (35.7%) 6-33 (18.2%)
Free Throws 16-24 (66.7%) 13-17 (76.5%)
Total Rebounds 37 43
Offensive 5 16
Defensive 29 19
Team 3 8
Assists 7 12
Steals 6 8
Blocks 3 1
Turnovers 16 10
Fouls 21 24
Technicals 0 0
32 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST
17 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo LIU-Brooklyn 18-16 343771
home team logo Wagner 23-9 184361
Team Stats
away team logo LIU-Brooklyn 18-16 93.7 PPG 49.3 RPG 17.0 APG
home team logo Wagner 23-9 74.3 PPG 44.7 RPG 13.0 APG
Key Players
00
J. Hernandez G PPG RPG APG FG%
11
R. Saunders G 17.7 PPG 5.0 RPG 3.0 APG 35.9 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Hernandez G 32 PTS 7 REB 2 AST
R. Saunders G 17 PTS 3 REB 2 AST
53.2 FG% 30.0
35.7 3PT FG% 18.2
66.7 FT% 76.5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Hernandez 38 32 7 2 3 2 3 2 10/16 1/4 11/14 4 3
R. Clark 38 20 8 1 0 1 5 2 8/12 1/1 3/7 1 7
J. Batts 30 8 5 0 0 0 1 3 3/4 2/3 0/0 0 5
J. van Sauers 23 4 5 1 3 0 1 5 2/4 0/0 0/1 0 5
J. Agosto 29 2 4 1 0 0 5 4 0/5 0/3 2/2 0 4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Hernandez 38 32 7 2 3 2 3 2 10/16 1/4 11/14 4 3
R. Clark 38 20 8 1 0 1 5 2 8/12 1/1 3/7 1 7
J. Batts 30 8 5 0 0 0 1 3 3/4 2/3 0/0 0 5
J. van Sauers 23 4 5 1 3 0 1 5 2/4 0/0 0/1 0 5
J. Agosto 29 2 4 1 0 0 5 4 0/5 0/3 2/2 0 4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
Z. Coleman 18 3 3 2 0 0 1 4 1/3 1/2 0/0 0 3
R. Frias 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1
J. Robinson 14 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 1
G. Cisse - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Bradley - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Hicks - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Owens Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Penn - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 71 34 7 6 3 16 21 25/47 5/14 16/24 5 29
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
R. Saunders 33 17 3 2 3 0 0 4 6/16 1/6 4/5 0 3
D. Liggeons 36 14 11 0 2 0 2 5 5/10 2/5 2/2 5 6
J. Cooper 40 11 6 8 0 0 5 2 3/12 1/3 4/5 4 2
B. Francis 40 8 1 1 1 0 1 1 3/17 2/13 0/1 1 0
A. Sumbry 23 7 6 0 0 1 2 4 2/3 0/0 3/4 1 5
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
R. Saunders 33 17 3 2 3 0 0 4 6/16 1/6 4/5 0 3
D. Liggeons 36 14 11 0 2 0 2 5 5/10 2/5 2/2 5 6
J. Cooper 40 11 6 8 0 0 5 2 3/12 1/3 4/5 4 2
B. Francis 40 8 1 1 1 0 1 1 3/17 2/13 0/1 1 0
A. Sumbry 23 7 6 0 0 1 2 4 2/3 0/0 3/4 1 5
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
E. Davis 13 4 1 1 1 0 0 4 2/5 0/2 0/0 1 0
S. Scott 9 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 1
C. Freeman 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
N. Jackson 14 0 6 0 1 0 0 2 0/6 0/4 0/0 4 2
J. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Graham - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Plummer - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 210 61 35 12 8 1 10 24 21/70 6/33 13/17 16 19