LIVINGSTON -- The foul trouble Livingston had managed to dance around for the better part of three quarters finally caught up with it in the fourth.
With three members of its starting five sitting on four fouls entering the final quarter, the pressure Livingston had successfully used to keep Central Catholic off balance for the first three quarters had to ease up.
The extra bit of space was all CC needed to find some open passing lanes into its post.
Behind 6-foot, 6-inch center Dan Hulst and 6-5 power forward Dusty Killian, Central Catholic scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter.
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CC never looked back in a 76-71 victory at the Wolf Den on Friday night.
The loss drops Livingston to 9-4 in the Western Athletic conference and likely ends their title defense with two games to go.
"They're a tough team to match up against no matter what," Livingston coach Angelo Naldi said. "They have two big post players that are athletic and can score.
"Once we got into foul trouble and couldn't quite be as aggressive, they took advantage."
The foul trouble started early for Livingston (18-6), with senior Gurpreet Sangha forced to the bench with three fouls just five minutes into the game.
CC (11-2, 20-5) took advantage, building a 16-9 lead.
Point guard Brian Alvarez answered for Livingston with five quick points, cutting the lead to two at the end of the first quarter.
Alvarez was just getting started.
Whether slashing to the basket or letting fly from the perimeter, Alvarez single-handedly dissected the CC defense in the second quarter.
Alvarez scored all 19 of Livingston's points in the quarter and gave his team a 32-22 lead with a three-point play with 3:35 to go in the half.
CC absorbed the blow and managed to whittle the lead back down to 3 at intermission.
"I've maybe had quarters like that playing NBA Live, but I've never experienced anything like it in real life," said Alvarez who scored a game-high 44 points. "Big players need to step up in big games.
"I was able to do that tonight."
Unfortunately for Livingston, CC had a pair of very big players do the same.
Gursewak Bains hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Livingston a 48-47 lead at the end of three quarters, but Hulst and Killian had already taken over the game.
The duo sent Sangha, Darrell Jantz and Charles Brown all to the bench with four fouls to set the stage for the fourth quarter.
After forcing 15 turnovers in the first half, a less tenacious Livingston defense only managed seven in the second half.
That freed up Hulst and Killian to combine for 31 of their 50 points in the second half.
"The fouls hurt us tremendously," Alvarez said. "It took away our speed, which took away our advantage."
Central Catholic 16 14 17 29 -- 76
Livingston 14 19 15 23 -- 71
CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- Anthony Alamo 5, Liam Smith 10, Ky Wilson 3, Dylan Eades 6, Matt Shinkwin 2, Dan Hulst 23, Dusty Killian 27. Totals: 27 21-30 76.
LIVINGSTON -- Brian Alvarez 44, Chris Modi 2, Gureswak Bains 7, Darrell Jantz 3, Talvinder Nijjar 2, Gurpreet Sangha 6, Charles Brown 7. Totals: 26 8-14 71.
3-pointers: Central Catholic 1 (Wilson), Livingston 11 (Alvarez 8, Bains, Jantz, Sangha); Total Fouls: Central Catholic 16, Livingston 25; Foul Outs: Livingston (Sangha, Jantz, Brown).
Records: Central Catholic 11-2 WAC, 20-5; Livingston 9-4 WAC, 18-6.
JV -- Central Catholic 65-63 (OT).