Livingston, Dixon hit clutch free throws to lift Linden

Livingston, Dixon hit clutch free throws to lift Linden

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Livingston, Dixon hit clutch free throws to lift Linden

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TOMS RIVER

After suffering heartbreak in the 2007 Tournament of Champions semifinals, losing to Bloomfield Tech on a last-second half court heave, the Linden boys basketball team got a little luck on their own.

Otis Livingston and Quinton Dixon hit clutch free throws, and the Tigers played their usual ferocious defense en route to a 64-60 victory over Pitman in the quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions on Tuesday held at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River.

With two seconds remaining in the game, Pitman took the court with six players, and after deliberation from the officials, Livingston was sent to the line for technical free throws with the game tied at 60.

“There were some things tonight that I’ve never seen,” said Tigers’ head coach Phil Colicchio. “Six men on the court is a technical and that’s it, they gave us the free throws and we eventually won the game.”

A tough Pitman squad took the Tigers to the brink, but the Tigers’ depth and ability to make big shots kept the game close for the eventual victory.

A spark for the Tigers came in the form of Rick’Keem Mixson, who came off the bench during the first half and score 11 points for the game. Mixson scored a quick six points with aggressive drives to the hoop to give Linden their first lead since starting the game 2-0.

“My mindset is to come in and attack them,” said Mixson. “My job is to help Otis so that’s what I did when I got into the game.”

The Tigers would hold the lead for most of the game, but Pitman came thundering back with defensive stops and key shots. Quadri Moore was his usual self, scoring 19 points in the game, and converting key shots in the prime of Pitman’s run.

“I believe I rebounded the ball more in the second half,” said Moore. “I started being a little more physical and I got my teammates involved by passing the ball out and not just forcing everything.”

Though they fought hard, a mental error cost Pitman a shot at a win. With the pressure on, Livingston and Quinton Dixon netted four free throws to secure the four-point win.

While the officials were debating the call, Livingston stood at the free throw line waiting for his chance. While he may not have had his usual game, only scoring eight points, Livingston took it upon himself to convert when his team needed him most.

“I like being in that moment,” said Livingston. “I knew that it was going to happen so I was going to wait however long it took and I knew I was going to make those free throws.”

For Mixson, the breakout game shows just how deep the Tigers’ squad is, and his coach is one of the most eager to see what else he has in store in the coming years.

“I think he’s going to be a big time player,” said Colicchio. “He just started making plays and Rick’Keem Mixson is going to be one hell of a basketball player because he’s just scratching the surface.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers, as they now move on to face Karl Towns and the St. Joseph’s Falcons in the semifinals.

“We have to score one more point than them,” said Colicchio. “All I know is we’ll prepare tonight and tomorrow we will be ready to play them on Thursday.”

Roselle Catholic 98,
Newark Tech 80: Roselle Catholic jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead and slowly built its advantage to more than 20 points in the third quarter to earn a spot in Thursday’s semifinals against second-seeded Newark East Side (5:30 p.m. at Monmouth University).

Isaiah Briscoe scored 22 points and Asante Gist added 21 for Roselle Catholic.

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