Lancers' backup forward Omari Beaubien drives to the hoop, Beaubien would finish with a team-high 15 points Credits: Ari Gilberg
Lancers' point guard Robby Lefkowitz (#00) looks to dribble past Raiders' defender Charlie Bingham (#10) Credits: Ari Gilberg
Livingston head coach Dave Cohen talks to guards' Justin Tepper (#13) and Lefkowitz (#00) Credits: Ari Gilberg
Lancers' forward Andrew Vittoria (#24) shoots a free throw Credits: Ari Gilberg
Raiders' leading scorer Scott Gonzalez (#11) drains a three pointer en route to his team-high 17 points Credits: Ari Gilberg
Livingston Doomed by Second Half Collapse in Loss to Nutley
Friday, February 22, 2013 • 10:41pm
LIVINGSTON, NJ- In a game that had absolutely no bearing in regards to the State Tournament, Livingston appeared to be sleepwalking to the finish, blowing an early lead en route to being outscored 33-19 in the final 16 minutes of play, losing 48-36.
Behind guard Scott Gonzalez and forward Jonathon Russo, who scored 17 and 10 points, the Raiders were able to halt a five-game losing streak and head into the state tournament with momentum.
“We just worked together well as a team,” Gonzalez said. “We all knew we wanted to win this game badly.”
In the opening half it appeared as though it were the Lancers that wanted it more, especially backup forward Omari Beaubien. Beaubien finished with 11 points heading into halftime, giving the Lancers a 17-15 lead.
However, when the second half buzzer sounded it appeared as only the Raiders came out of the locker room. Behind Gonzalez and Russo, Nutley scored a remarkable 14 unanswered points en route to outscoring Livingston 15-4 in the quarter.
“A lot of games we either lead or tie at half and come at flat and just lose the game in the third quarter,” Russo said. “Scott [Gonzalez] and I made sure we as a team needed to get the lead and just keep building on it.”
At the start of the fourth quarter it appeared that Raiders’ lead would not only shrink, but evaporate as a whole. In the opening minutes of the last frame, Livingston, behind Beabien, Andrew Vittoria, and Alex Habberman, scored six straight points to bring the Lancers within three. But, after Raiders’ head coach Robert Harbinson called a timeout, big man Austin Kunz drove for a layup and after being fouled hard converted the and-one.
The Raiders outscored Livingston 18-10 to end, what was a seemingly one-sided affair.
Walking off the court after his team’s dreadful loss to the Raiders, Livingston senior RobbyLefkowitz asserted that his team simply did not want it as much as Nutley did.
“Lack of effort from the starters, and the bench did nothing and brought no energy,” Lefkowitz said.
The Lancers will look to regroup at Paterson Eastside (23-1) in the first round of the state tournament on Monday at 7 p.m.