Northeast Tournament Final: Mount St. Mary’s vs. LIU Brooklyn

An NCAA Tournament berth is on the line Tuesday night when Mount St. Mary’s visits LIU Brooklyn for the Northeast Tournament Championship Game and an automatic NCAA bid.

LIU Brooklyn enters on a four-game winning streak. It beat Wagner 94-82 on Saturday in Staten Island in the semifinals. C.J. Garner scored 23 points, Jamal Olasewere posted a double-double, and four others scored in double figures for the Blackbirds. Olasewere finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for his third double-double in four games and became the Blackbirds’ all-time points leader with 1,836. Booker Hucks added 14 points, E.J. Reed 13 and Troy Joseph 12 for LIU Brooklyn, which shot 65.3 percent (32 of 49), its highest since shooting 72.4 percent on Nov. 25, 2006, against Old Westbury. The Blackbirds (19-13) led 49-29 at the break and made 16 of 22 second-half shots to seal the win.

Garner has been on a torrid scoring pace of late, and has 83 points (27.6 ppg) over his last three outings. Junior Jason Brickman, the nation’s leader in assists at 8.5 per game, has set single-season school and conference records this year with 272 assists, and is on pace to break the NEC’s career assists mark set in 1988 by Drafton Davis of Marist. Brickman recently became the second NEC player to record 700 assists in a career with his 10 against Wagner.

Mount St. Mary’s has won nine straight and beat Robert Morris 69-60 on Saturday. Rashad Whack scored 26 points as Mount St. Mary’s upset top-seeded Robert Morris. The Mountaineers (18-13), who are headed to their first NEC title game since 2009, last won the championship in 2008. Whack was 7-of-10 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Sam Prescott added 15 points and seven rebounds as the Mountaineers shot 44.7 percent (21 of 47). Mount St. Mary’s leads the NEC in turnover margin at +3.94 per game, and is forcing opponents into 16.4 turnovers per contest.

The two teams split the regular-season series, with the Blackbirds taking an 86-72 decision at Barclays Center on Jan. 12. The Mountaineers won the most recent matchup between the two teams on Feb. 21 in Emmitsburg, Md., 83-71. LIU holds a 25-23 edge in the all-time series, and is 15-10 at home. The Blackbirds are 1-2 all-time against Mount St. Mary’s in NEC Tournament play, with the lone win coming during the 1997-98 season (93-73, NEC Semifinals).

WagerWeb.com trends: Mountaineers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. Northeast. Blackbirds are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. Northeast. Blackbirds are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall. Blackbirds are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a S.U. win. Blackbirds are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. Blackbirds are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.

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