NCAA Basketball Tournament - LIU Brooklyn v Michigan State

Report: Four LIU Brooklyn players arrested on charges of third-degree assault (UPDATED)

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First-year LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri inherited a very good roster when he took over for Jim Ferry, who is now the head coach at Duquesne, back in April.

With four starters returning from last season’s 25-win team, Perri has enough talent to lead the Blackbirds back to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season.

But thanks to an on-campus altercation LIU Brooklyn’s chances of winning the Northeast Conference for a third straight season could take a major hit.

As first reported by Pat O’Keefe of News 12 in Brooklyn, four players were arrested on charges of third-degree assault for their involvement in the altercation with three of them being returning starters.

According to New York Post law-enforcement sources the players got into a fight with three male and two female members of the track team, with four of the track athletes being taken to Brooklyn Hospital for minor injuries.

However an LIU spokesperson stated in an email to NBC Sports that the track team had nothing to do with the incident in question.

LIU Brooklyn athletic director John Suarez released the following statement this morning:

LIU Brooklyn has suspended indefinitely four members of its men’s basketball team for their involvement in a Sept. 14 altercation on campus.  No other student-athletes were implicated in this incident. Until all legal and appeals processes have been completed, we will not comment further on this matter.

Those three starters, forwards Julian Boyd and Jamal Olasewere and guard C.J. Garner, are key cogs in an attack that averaged 81.4 points per game last season and has won back-to-back NEC titles.

Boyd, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season, is the reigning NEC Player of the Year and has made a remarkable comeback after missing the 2009-10 season due to a heart ailment.

Olasewere was one of Boyd’s partners in crime in the front court last season (with key reserve Kenny Onyechi being the other), averaging 16.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and earning first team All-NEC honors.

Garner may not have earned any postseason honors for his efforts but the 5-10 guard was third on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) while also dishing out 3.3 assists per game.

While the tandem of Garner and point guard Jason Brickman is undersized they were a handful for opponents last season and likely would be again in 2012-13.

But the legal situation that these four players puts things in doubt, especially if they were indeed not just suspended from the team but suspended from school as well.

With a tough schedule that includes trips to Kentucky and Maryland and a game against Seton Hall at the new Barclays Center, losing any of the returning starters for an extended period of time would be a serious blow.

Brickman and Onyechi have plenty of experience but they would have a lot more heavy lifting to do if this situation leads to lengthy punishments for the players reportedly involved.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)