December 22, 2012 at 12:45 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ—The Livingston Lancers had an early season non-conference matchup Friday evening trying to go above the .500 mark in the third game of the season. Morris Hills came to Livingston and the Lancers earned a hard fought victory as they defeated the Scarlett Knights, 44-39.
"This was a good win heading into the Christmas break," Lancer head coach Dave Cohen said. "It’s always good to enter the holiday tournament with a winning record."
Livingston came out of the gates a little sluggish as they were outrebounded and outhustled in the first half. The Scarlet Knights struck from 3-point range in the first quarter as nine of their ten points were 3-pointers. Morris Hills continued that trend in the second quarter and also did a phenomenal job on the offensive boards.
The Lancers were able to hang around in the first half despite the efforts of Morris Hills. Livingston’s point guard Robbie Lefkowitz converted on a layup while being hit, sending him to the free throw line to tie the game with 11 seconds left in the half. Lefkowtiz hit the free throw, which tied the score at 21-21.
The Scarlet Knights pushed the ball down the floor and got into a half court set. Cory Mundt came off a screen and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer giving Morris Hills a 23-21 halftime lead.
Livingston responded well to Cohen's halftime speech and came out on a mission. The Lancers turned to what has worked all season: defense. Cohen used various half court traps and presses to force the Scarlet Knights to turn the ball over, which they did five times. Livingston held Morris Hills to seven points in the third quarter as they scored ten.
Then came the fourth quarter. This period has not been too friendly to Livingston all season long, but Tuesday night was a different story.
Livingston went on an 18-14 run, most of it anchored by junior forward Joey Fischer. Fischer scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. The Lancers worked the ball into the low post where Fischer dominated the Scarlet Knights.
Livingston continued the defensive intensity in the third quarter, which was also a key to their strong fourth quarter play where they outscored Morris Hills 13-5.
"We can enjoy this one tonight but tomorrow we start preparing our next game," Cohen said. "We are sticking to the mindset that the best team we place will be the next team we play this season."