by Donnell Suggs
There’s a great old story about a boy named David who had to summon all of his faith, pride and, most importantly, courage in order to defeat a giant named Goliath. Wonderful story, ends up with the little guy beating the big guy. Things don’t always work out that way in the NCAA Tournament.
Long Island University fought hard to trim a 17-point North Carolina lead down to 2 before Carolina pulled the lead back to 11 at halftime. Coming into the locker room only down 11 against an ACC powerhouse like Carolina should make a mid-major like LIU feel good. “At halftime we talked about limiting North Carolina’s 2nd chance points and transition points,” said Assistant Coach John Perri. “We also wanted to limit their free-throw attempts, which unfortunately did not happen.”
The Blackbirds got back into the game with their trademark fast breaking and frenetic pace, chopping the lead down and forcing the Tar Heels to go to their big men for baskets. North Carolina has a wealth of post players and freshman forwards John Henson and Harrison Barnes were up for the challenge, scoring 28 and 24 points, respectively.
Tyler Zeller, another of Carolina’s big men, was 14-19 from the line and 9-14 from the field for a career high 32 points. A 84 combined points from the Carolina frontcourt put the game out of reach.
Goliath won this round, 102-87. There will be more chances to play No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament for Long Island University. According to Perri, “If you take a look at our roster we have a great core of talent and our whole front court is returning. We are going to miss David and Kyle (seniors guards) a great deal but we are confident that the future is bright and we will continue to compete at a high level.”
North Carolina moves on to face the Washington Huskies on Sunday, 68-65 winners over Georgia. LIU coaches, players, fans (there were many in attendance in Charlotte) as well as Brooklyn natives can be proud of the Blackbirds’ effort Friday night.
It was hard fought, straight out of Brooklyn.