LINDEN, N.J. - Chatham High School boys' basketball head coach Todd Ervin knew his team would be tested when they scheduled a game against Linden. They didn't know they would be playing against an ESPN Top 100 recruit in Quadri Moore.

Moore scored 18 points as the Tigers defeated the Cougars 68-45 on Thursday at Linden High School.

"If you're going to lose a game, you don't mind losing games like this because its only going to make us better," Ervin said. "We're not going to see teams like this on our schedule, so you hope we learn from it and things get easier from here on out."

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Moore had seven points in the first quarter, but a state power Tigers found themselves up by just one point after the opening eight minutes because Chatham's Joe Timmes nailed two 3-pointers, one to open the quarter and another at the end.

Linden opened the second period on a 7-2 run, including a deep three from Cairo Brown. Chatham answered with back-to-back tres from Scott Baker and Sam Carson to pull the game within two points, but that was as close as the Cougars came to tying the game.

Brown took over the rest of the second quarter, scoring 10 of the last 11 Tiger points, opening up a 34-27 lead.

After the break, Chatham cut the lead to five points, then Daniel McGinely had a chance to make it a two-point game when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. McGinely hit only one of the three free throws. Linden followed with a 10-0 run, including four points from Moore to lead 47-33.

Brown followed with a buzzer beating half-court shot to give Linden a 54-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers held the Cougars to only two baskets (six points) in the fourth quarter, winning the game 68-45.

"I thought we played hard, i thought we played tough the entire way," Timmes said. "We battled the entire game, al four quarters. In the end, they started making some of their shots that they weren't making in the first quarter, it was like a dagger in the heart."

With the loss, Chatham falls to 1-2 on the season, but Elvin saw the Linden game as a chance to grow as a team before conference play begins.

We knew coming in that it was going to be difficult," Elvin said. "…We don't teams like this in Morris County. We see teams like this in the state. We wanted to see what it was like. It was good for us."

Chatham returns to the floor on Wednesday against Hanover Park in the 2012 Cougar Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.