LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Livingston Lancers came into Saturday knowing they captured the 14th seed in the North 1 Group 4 state playoffs, an achievement that Livingston basketball has not reached in ten plus years. But Lancer headman Dave Cohen sent a message to his club that there is no reason to give up on the three remaining games the Lancers have left.
By no means did Livingston give up on Saturday as the Lancers defeated the Morristown Colonials 55-42 at the Fitness and Wellness Center in Livingston.
"We played smart basketball today," Cohen said. "We were decisive and took control in the second half."
Colonial forward Shawn Bell led Morristown with ten points in the first half and he provided Morristown with a one point lead at halftime, 23-22.
But Livingston junior guard Matt Fung was not interested in hearing more critics say, "What if?" about his Lancers squad. So with his club trailing by one point after one half, the junior captain erupted with a team-high 16 points in the second half to set the tone for Livingston.
"When we came out in the second half we knew we had to be smarter with the ball and attack the basketball," the junior captain said. "Defensively, we thought we could pick up the intensity and on the offensive side we had to finish."
Livingston went on a 19-11 third quarter run. Like they have in their previous three wins, the Lancers used dribble penetration to get to the basket and if the defense collapsed, they would find the open man.
"There were seams open and we attacked," sophomore Sam Abam said. "Earlier in the season, we did not want to attack as much but things have changed over the course of the season. We are sticking to the offensive game plan and it is working right now over our four game winning streak."
Abam and Fung carried the Lancers into the fourth up by seven points and looked to extend that lead. They did just that.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Livingston extended their seven-point lead to 12 points and picked up the defensive pressure.
Abam finished with 12 points and junior forward Sam white finished with seven points, eight assists, and nine rebounds.
"Today was a big win for us. It is good to beat a top Morris County team and this win solidified where we stand this season," Cohen concluded.