NJIT Shoots Down Blackbirds to Improve to 6-1

NJIT Shoots Down Blackbirds to Improve to 6-1
 
GAME HIGHLIGHTS (VIDEO)

LEWIS DEFENSIVE PLAY OF GAME (TWITTER VIDEO)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Sophomore Zach Cooks scored a team-high 22 points and NJIT remained perfect on the road with a 77-70 victory over LIU Brooklyn on Sunday at Steinberg Wellness Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. With a 6-1 record, the Highlanders are off to their best start since 1994-95.
 
Their 3-0 record away from Newark also represents their best road start since 2000-01. In fact, it also gives the Highlanders their first three-game, road winning streak since Jan. 15 to Feb. 1, 2006 (Stetson, Kennesaw, Lipscomb).
 
Additionally, the Highlanders have won back-to-back games in the series with the Blackbirds and four-straight against opponents from the Northeast Conference – both stats dating back to the 2017-18 season.
 
Sophomore San Antonio Brinson tied his career-high with 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Diandre Wilson tallied 13 points. NJIT's other double-digit scorer was senior Abdul Lewis, who had his best game of the season with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
 
LIU received a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds from senior Raiquan Clark. However, no other Blackbird scorer reached double figures.
 
Although NJIT held a lead for the majority of the game, LIU made a second-half surge to attempt a comeback. Down by 12 points with less than 17 minutes to go, the Blackbirds went on a 14-6 run to pull to 58-54 with 13:46 remaining.
 
Lewis quelled the run with two-straight field goals. In fact, after the only other time LIU pulled to within four points (64-60), it was a Lewis jumper with 7:52 on the clock that maintained the NJIT buffer.
 
This time, the Highlanders did not allow the Blackbirds to crawl any closer.
 
NJIT shot 27-for-59 (45.8%) from the floor while holding LIU to 23-for-57 (40.4%) on field-goal attempts. Additionally, LIU was held to 70 points despite entering the day averaging 84.0 point per game – which ranked second in the NEC and 52nd in the country. The Highlanders were also plus-five in the turnover battle in forcing 15 from LIU.
 
NJIT started to run away from the Blackbirds towards the end of the first half.
 
The Blackbirds had pulled to within a basket at 24-22 at 5:26 on a three-pointer by junior Julius van Saunders. However, the Highlanders answered 24 seconds later with a triple of their own from senior Donovan Greer – a basket that ignited a 19-8 half-ending run over the final 5:02.
 
Greer hit another trey a minute-and-a-half later, while both Cooks and Brinson chipped in with four points apiece during the spurt.
 
By the time the first half came to an end, NJIT had a game-high 13-point lead and a half-high 14 points from Cooks. Brinson recorded seven points and a half-high six rebounds.

NJIT has now won back-to-back road games to rebound from their only loss of the season -- an 86-73 home loss to Cornell University on Nov. 17.
 
The Highlanders are back in action on Wednesday, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Drexel University (3-2). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
 
Last season, NJIT earned a 65-53 home win on Nov. 25, 2017, in the first-ever meeting between the programs. In was also the Highlanders' first all-time victory in four tries against an opponent from the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

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