GMC Hoops Highlights–March 20, 2014–#4 Linden vs. #1 St. Joseph’s–TOC Semis

Here are highlights from the action in the 2014 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions semifinal between fourth seeded Linden and top seeded St. Joseph’s. In a classic game, St. Joseph’s nearly squandered a 20 point lead with just under 11 minutes to play in the game, but managed to hang on for the 63-59 win to punch a ticket to its second straight T of C Championship Game.

Trailing 18-17 late in the first half, St. Joe’s finished the second quarter on a 7-2 run including a three from Raven Owen for a 24-20 halftime advantage. Then, after Linden crept to within three at 26-23 early in the third, the Falcons embarked on a 16-1 tear over the next 4:30 or so to take a 42-24 lead. The Joes lead grew to 48-28 after an alleyoop dunk by Karl Towns with 2:48 left in the third.

However, Towns, who went to the bench with two fouls in the first half, would pick up three fouls in a span of just 3:30 to foul out of the game with 5:20 left in the fourth. Linden then took advantage by switching to a zone press, and feeding off the momentum created by back to back threes from Juwan Dolbrice to rally with a 29-10 surge over a 10 minute span to pull within a point at 58-57 on a trey by Otis Livingston with 48.6 seconds to play.

Fortunately, the Falcons would prevail thanks to a pair of free throws from Raven Owen with 34 seconds left, and three more foul shots the rest of the way for the four point win. The Big Three of Karl Towns, Wade Baldwin, and Marques Townes each had 15 points while sophomore Breein Tyree added 11 and Owen chipped in with 7 for St. Joseph’s while Quadri Moore led Linden with 19 points while Otis Livingston chipped in with 16, and Josh Carter and Juwan Dolbrice each added 11 in a losing cause.