ORANGE, NJ - Livingston’s offense fell in love with the 3-point line and could never get much offensive momentum going during Thursday night’s road loss to Orange, 48-34. The Lancers hit five-of-17 from beyond the arc, and overall made just 24.4 percent of their shots from the floor.
“We’ve been telling the kids to attack the basket, but against teams that play aggressive defense, we get timid and just launch up deeper shots,” said Livingston head coach David Cohen. “They were open looks, but you have to attack the seam.”
But with nearly five minutes left to play, a steal by Robby Lefkowitz, converted into a layup by Joey Fischer, cut Orange’s lead to seven, after they had been up by as many as 15 before then. However, following Fischer’s basket, Livingston went cold again, hitting just three of their final 13 shots from the floor, while Orange closed the game on a 14-7 run.
“We had two layups in a row that we missed, and then we had to start fouling,” Cohen said of the offense stalling in the fourth.
The Lancers came out and drained their first two 3-point attempts from the field, but then got a little trigger happy, launching six more in the opening half without making one. A one-point second quarter, in which the locals missed all nine of their shots from the floor, and lost senior starter Alex Haberman to injury, was too much to comeback from.
“I think we came out kind of flat in the first half, and we made a comeback in the second, but it was too late,” Livingston’s Doug Bresnick said. “When we saw one of the leaders on our team, Alex Haberman, go down, it kind of hit us at that point that we have to step up and play a little bit harder.”
Trailing by 14 points at the half, Livingston came out and was able to cut the deficit to as little as 10 points in the third quarter, but could not get over the hump. A 7-1 run to start the fourth quarter, capped by a baseline 3-pointer by Kahlil Garnes, cut a 13-point lead down to seven, with just under six minutes to play. Orange’s offense, which made 45 percent of its shots from the floor, attacked the basket constantly, consistently making shots down the stretch to keep Livingston at bay.
“We gave up 15 points in the first quarter and deep into the fourth, that was a third of their points right there,” Cohen said. “The first time we played them, we held them to 10 in the first half. So I think we did a really poor job initially, in the third quarter we had some chances to turn the corner, but we didn’t make shots.”
Garnes, Livingston’s only non-senior on the starting five, led all players with 14 points, backed by four three pointers.
“He hit some shots and gave a chance to compete, but it wasn’t enough today,” Cohen said.
The loss snapped a brief two-game winning streak, dropping the Lancers to 7-10 overall, and puts them in third place in the Super Essex Conference Colonial Division.
“I think the general mood is that we could be better than we are right now,” Bresnick said. “We’ve lost a few games that we feel we could’ve won. We’re one of the only teams where we’re the only people who believe in us, and I think that says something, but at the same time I think we have to pick it up and play a little bit better.”