Livingston Handily Defeats Clifton 54-35 to Stay Undefeated
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 • 5:59pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - “We want to win three championships: the Holiday tournament, the Essex County Tournament, and a state championship.” Those were the words of Livingston head coach Dave Cohen prior to the 2010-2011 season. The Lancers came one step closer to their goal of winning the Holiday tournament on Tuesday as they defeated the Clifton Mustangs 54-35.
Livingston found themselves with only a three point lead at halftime, 19-16. Clifton was resilient and refused to give up.
“We played real sloppy in the first half and turned the ball over,” Livingston captain Matt Fung said. “We came out in the second half, adjusted to the pressure and penetrated their zone.”
Fung led his Lancer squad in the second half as he finished with 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
Fellow guard, Marc Schofel, also dominated play in the second half. Schofel came off the bench to score 16 points, as he was 4-6 from 3-point range.
“Clifton played a 2-3 zone and coach told me to get ready to shoot. That is exactly what I did,” Schofel said. “Against Belleville I was fading away and a little off balance. I worked with the coaching staff and the extra work paid off."
With Schofel’s hot shooting and Livingston’s defense, the Lancers went on a 22-7 run in the third quarter.
Livingston decided to use their effective 2-2-1 full court press to force the Mustangs to turn the ball over. Fourteen of Livingston’s 22 third quarter points were fast break points resulting from Clifton turnovers.
“Defensively, we were slow to rotate and that was a major reason we only led by three points at half,” Coach Cohen said. “We decided to press and it paid off.”
“The boys are buying into what we run and when we execute as well as play to our potential we are a very good basketball team,” he added.
For Clifton, they fell to 0-3 on the year playing perennial powerhouses like Don Bosco and Passaic. Dondre McClain scored ten points for the Mustangs.
With this victory, Livingston is 3-0 and advances to the West Orange Holiday Tournament finals where they will face West Orange or Nutley Thursday evening at 7:00 P.M.
“Our past two games we have not played to our potential in the first half,” Cohen said. “To beat West Orange or Nutley we will need to win every single quarter.”