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Hot Pepper: Temple guard, sharpshooting Owls blitz Blackbirds at Barclays

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As Long Island University struggled to find its shooting stroke, Temple and Dalton Pepper treated the Barclays Center rims like the ones in the playground back home.

The sharpshooting guard scored a game-high 26 points and connected on six three-pointers to hand the Blackbirds an 101–65 defeat at the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational last Saturday. Long Island University shot just 28.8 percent from the field as Temple shot a blistering 61.3 percent for the game and 71.9 percent after the break.

“They shot our lights out in the second half,” Blackbirds coach Jack Perri said.

The defeat snapped LIU’s modest two-game winning streak, including an 82–79 victory over Lamar on Wednesday at the Wellness Center. Long Island University (4–7) hung around with Temple (5–5) for a half, trailing just 38–22 despite failing to get into any real offensive flow.

The Owls’ defense, especially Will Cummings, was able to neutralize Blackbirds point guard Jason Brickman, not letting him get the ball back if he passed it away. He scored just nine points and dished out six assists. E.J. Reed paced the Blackbirds with 13 points and 12 boards and Troy Joseph added 11 points.

“It got us a little flustered and a little whacked out, especially in the first half,” Perri said.

The Blackbirds were playing short handed because of injuries, with just eight scholarship players and three forwards against a long and athletic Temple squad that had five players in double figures. Landon Atterberry ended up fouling out. It forced the Blackbirds to help in the paint and left Pepper, who shot 10-of-12 from the field, open for shots.

“It felt like everything I was shooting was going in,” Pepper said. “It felt good to make shots, and really our team in the second half knocked down a lot of threes.

Perri thought his team had some good looks at shots that just didn’t go down, and his team didn’t take advantage of the 43 free throws they took by making just 26. The Blackbirds have games against Sam Houston State and Texas State before opening up league play against borough rival St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights Jan. 9

Brooklyn natives Brown, Williams lead Manhattan past Buffalo: A pair of former East New York Transit Tech stars were the difference down the stretch of an 84–81 victory for the Jaspers in the opener at the Barclays Center. Richard Williams scored nine points, including the go ahead basket with 18 seconds left in overtime. Rhamel Brown, a Brownsville native, blocked two shots in the closing seconds to seal the victory.

“Pushing through in the second half for overtime for win just shows a lot of grit, a lot of toughness, a lot of heart on this team,” Brown said

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewski@cnglocal.com. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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