The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team erased a 24-point halftime deficit, coming all the way back to defeat visiting Medgar Evers College at the Sports & Recreation Center, 60-55, in conference action. CSI won for the fourth-straight time, lifting its overall mark to 10-2 and CUNYAC record to a perfect 6-0, while MEC fell to 5-9, 2-4, respectively.
It was a tale of two halves for the Dolphins and Cougars, who have faced on another in the last two CUNYAC Championship Finals. In the first half, the game belonged in the hands of the Cougars, who wasted no time imposing their will. The visitors got off to an 11-0 lead after the first 5:23, powered by a pair of jumpers each by Winston Douglas and Kayode Prime. After CSI would score the next four points to get the board at the 13:28 mark and cut the lead to seven, MEC went on a 13-4 tear, this time using a pair of three’s by Rico Oliver and forcing a pair of critical CSI turnovers to take a monster, 24-6 lead, with just 6:51 remaining in the stanza.
CSI caught a little first half fire when Matt Van Manen led off with a layup and junior Bloochy Magloire connected on a pair of jumpers, but the Cougars were right there ready to trade baskets, and the visitors closed the half on an 8-2 run to go into the locker room with an improbable 38-14 lead. The sluggish Dolphins shot just 7-24 (29%) in the frame, going 0-7 from three-point range, and another 0-3 from the charity stripe, while also committing 10 turnovers. Meanwhile, MEC was 13-26 from the floor, including 6-12 from beyond the arc.
Coming out of the locker room, it seemed CSI would be hard-pressed to even make the game close, but the defensing CUNYAC champs, who are also riding a 16-game CUNYAC regular season unbeaten streak, answered the call. Down by 24, CSI scored the first two baskets of the half, and after a Michael Taylor free-throw for MEC, the Dolphins posted a 13-1 run over the next four minutes, a run that included a dunk and CSI’s first three-pointer of the game by Magloire. The teams traded baskets from there, with Douglas matching a Dylan Bulger inside drive and another Oliver trey for the visitors matching a Jonathan Chadwick-Myers three-ball.
Needing to make a move, CSI again made a surge with just outside of 11 minutes left. After a Douglas jumper gave MEC a double-digit lead, 47-36, CSI fired off a 13-3 run over the next five minutes, a stretch where MEC shot just 1-for-12 (8%), and earned their points via the foul line. Finally, a Douglas open-look three-pointer gave MEC a 53-49 cushion, but this time, with just over three minutes left, CSI went on an 11-2 run to close the game. First, Magloire would bury a three, and after Van Manen failed on to free-throws to put CSI ahead on the ensuing possession, Chadwick-Myers tied the game at 53-53 by sinking one of two freebies himself with 2:24 to go.
CSI finally got their first lead on an inside drive by Chadwick-Myers a minute later, but MEC’s Michael Taylor made a great move on the left side to beat the CSI defense and tie the score just seconds later. CSI drained the shot clock on the next possession and down to 37 seconds left, a foul by Taylor sent Bulger to the free-throw line. He converted both freebies to put CSI up by two. With 24 ticks remaining MEC went for the win, but Taylor’s three fell wide and the ball was rebounded by Chadwick-Myers, who seemingly iced the game with two more free-throws. After another miss, Bulger sank another free-throw for the Dolphins with just five seconds remaining to essentially seal the win.
CSI rebounded to shoot 50% in the second stanza (17-34), while MEC was ice-cold, going just 6-32, for 19%. For the game, CSI held a modest 42-36 edge on the boards, and committed just five second half turnovers. Much to the chagrin of their coaches, MEC was hit with incredible foul trouble, as Douglas, Valin Williams, and Jovan Deare each fouled out.
CSI was led by Magloire’s 20 points, followed by Javon Cox’s 13 points and 11 rebounds. Chadwick-Myers netted 12 points, while Bulger finished with 9 points and 11 rebounds. MEC was paced by Douglas’ 18 points and game-high 12 rebounds. Taylor added 12 points. MEC’s bench out-scored CSI, 25-0, in the game.
The Dolphins will return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to face John Jay College in Manhattan at 7:00pm. The CSI women will tip off with the Bloodhounds at 5pm.