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Long Island University, 75, Manhattan College, 48

Blackbirds star Julian Boyd sidelined with knee injury

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Senior guard Brandon Thompson’s sharpshooting more than made up for the absence of Long Island University Blackbirds star Julian Boyd.

The San Antonio recruit scored a career-high 23 points and connected a career-best seven 3-pointers on the day it was announced Boyd would miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

Thompson propelled the Blackbirds to a 75–48 rout of local rival Manhattan at the Wellness Center on Sunday. It was Thompson’s third straight game with double digit points on a night his team needed a lift.

“I don’t know who took it harder, me, Jamal [Olasewere] or Julian,” Thompson said. “This morning was the worst just seeing him break down.”

The hoopster, who shot 7-of-10 from three, would end up taking apart the Manhattan defense. His final three treys showed just how hot he was. He connected on one right in front of the Blackbirds bench, and then called for the ball and buried a 3-pointer beyond NBA-range near the top of the key.

Thompson capped his performance by draining a fall away trey from the right corner with a hand in his face. It was the final points of a devastating 23–1 second quarter run to put Long Island University up 66–34 with 7:29 left in the game.

“I just realized I had to step up because Julian was out,” Thompson said. “I just felt like my teammates counted on me. I was just able to make shots.”

Blackbirds coach Jack Perri saw this stretch coming for the hardworking Thompson, despite his poor shooting early in the season. He kept telling him all the misses would come back to him as makes at some point.

“I said, ‘I’ll only take you out if you stop shooting,’ ” Perri said.

Long Island University, the two-time defending Northeast Conference champion, shot 54.5 percent from 3-point range and out rebounded Manhattan 50–25.

Booker Hucks tallied 12 points, and Olasewere added 11 points and nine rebounds for Long Island University (5–4). Emmy Adujar led Manhattan with 12 points. The Blackbirds have won five straight at the Wellness Center.

They will need to continue both those streaks without Boyd, who hurt himself in a win over Rice on Dec. 12. The reigning Northeast Conference Player of the Year was averaging 18.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. The school will try to medical redshirt him for the second time in his career. He missed the 2009–2010 season with a heart ailment and believes this was easier.

He held out hope until he got the news on Saturday.

“With the heart thing, I was sitting out and I felt fine like I could play,” Boyd said. “Now I know I can’t play because my knee hurts.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.

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