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CEDAR FALLS — After falling in a 12-4 hole early, Cedar Falls never led in a 68-59 home loss to Linn-Mar in Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ basketball Tuesday.

The Tigers looked to be on the brink of a comeback midway through the fourth quarter, getting within 58-54 on an Isaiah Johnson layup. But things turned for good on the ensuing possession, when star guard AJ Green picked up his fifth foul, then was given a technical. The Lions responded with a 9-2 run to put the game away.

Though Green did lead Cedar Falls with 14 points despite foul problems, Tuesday marked his least-productive game in some time. Coming in, he’d scored 20 or more in five consecutive games, and scor ed at least 19 in nine straight.

Tiger Coach Ryan Schultz didn’t blame the outcome on Green’s absence, as Linn-Mar was also without its top scorer for much of the first half. Forward Trey Hutcheson picked up two early fouls, as well.

Schultz said the biggest reason for the loss was his team’s inability to stop the Lions on the drive, as they routinely got easy looks while cutting to the basket.

“We talked about making sure we blocked off their penetration,” he said. “That was one of our keys going in. We just didn’t go a good job of it.”

The easy layups helped the Lions answer every rally. They went on an 8-0 run after Cedar Falls got within two in the second quarter, then closed the third on an 8-3 run after the Tigers had cut a 12-point deficit to four.

Linn-Mar had lost five of six coming in. After the disappointing result, Schultz said his team had to forget the game as quickly as possible.

“I just think we were a step slow tonight,” he said. “It was one of those nights I just don’t think we came out with the energy we needed from the get go.”

Linn-Mar 68, Cedar Falls 59

LINN-MAR (4-5, 6-7) — Reese Phillips 3 3-5 9, Nolan Ruff 4 1-2 10, Trey Hutcheson 1 2-2 4, Nate Annis 7 1-2 15, Tyler Voves 3 1-2 7, Jacob Robertson 2 0-0 5, Dylan Hand 2 0-0 5, Cole Martin 3 0-0 9, Mason Colton 0 0-0 0, Jack Gertsen 2 0-0 4. Totals 27 8-12 68

CEDAR FALLS (6-3, 9-4) — AJ Green 6 0-0 14, Logan Wolf 4 2-4 10, Ben Gerdes 5 1-1 11, Jackson Frericks 1 3-3 5, Isaiah Johnson 4 2-2 11, Daniel Martinson 0 0-0 0, Sam Gary 1 0-0 2, Reese Gardner 0 0-0 0, Jack Campbell 2 2-2 6. Totals 23 10-12 59

Linn-Mar 16 22 14 16 — 68

Cedar Falls 14 15 14 16 — 59

3-point goals—Linn-Marr 6 (Martin 3, Robertson 1, Hand 1, Ruff 1), Cedar Falls 3 (Green 2, Johnson 1). Fouled out—Green. Technical foul—Green.

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