The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad never fell behind beyond the six-minute mark of the first half, but there were plenty of anxious moments, as the top-seeded Dolphins escaped the Nat Holman Gymnasium at City College of New York winners of their second straight CUNYAC/Con Edison Men’s Basketball Championship with an 80-74 win over No. 3 John Jay College earlier this evening. The win, CSI’s season-long seventh-straight, propelled the Dolphins to 22-5 overall and gave the defending champs an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament, which begins a week from tonight. The Bloodhounds finalized their season at 15-13.
After a near hour delay due to a lengthy women’s Final which preceded the tilt, both teams came out firing in the early minutes, which saw the Bloodhounds race out to a 14-7 lead, its largest of the game, at the 16:14 mark of the first stanza. Darryl Dennis was the catalyst, scoring 10 of his 12 first-half points in the stretch, which including a long-range three and a three-point play at 16:32. CSI turned the ball over three times over the same stretch, connecting on just three of their first 10 shots from the floor, scoring their points via two three’s by junior Bloochy Magloire. Needing a lift, CSI turned to its inside game, and three points by Javon Cox and interior baskets by Jonathan Chadwick-Myers and Dylan Bulger staked CSI to a 9-1 run, and with 9:58 to go, CSI had a 16-15 lead. The Dolphins were aided by John Jay’s lack of a field goal in over six minutes, as the Bloodhounds misconnected on eight straight shots and committed a pair of turnovers in the process.
Isaiah Holman’s three-point play finally got JJC on the register on their next possession, and after Jamar Harry gave JJC a three-point lead, 20-17, at 8:07, CSI executed another critical run. Another Magloire trey knotted the game, and senior Herschel Jenkins converted a short jumper in the paint after three-straight JJC misses to put CSI up 22-20 with exactly six minutes left in the first half. After a Korede Griffith freebie for JJC, CSI posted a numbing 13-6 run over the next five minutes, highlighted by a pair of Chadwick-Myers’ drives and a trio of transition jumpers by reserve Kevin King. With 1:01 to go, the Bloodhounds found time for a mini 5-1 spurt, which included an Oshea Alexander three-point play with one second remaining, to narrow CSI’s halftime lead to 36-32.
After shooting just 31.3% in the first frame, JJC needed a lift, and found it in the early stages thanks to some clutch shooting. After CSI ballooned the lead to as many as six points on two occasions, the Bloodhounds used a 12-6 advantage over four minutes to knot the game at 46-46, spearheaded by a thundering dunk and then another three-point play by Alexander. CSI responded, however, with its sharpest stretch of the game. A Cox basket and then a Chadwick-Myers three got CSI rolling to a 17-4 run over the next four-plus minutes, and with 8:06 remaining; CSI had a commanding 63-50 edge.
From there, CSI was able to maintain its lead despite a series of threats. On three occasions, the Bloodhounds cut the lead to single digits with possession, but each time, CSI countered with baskets to pull ahead by double-digits, the final time at 1:14, via two Bloochy Magloire free throws. Two three-pointers by Kris Owens with inside of a minute to play, the second at 26 seconds making the score 75-70, seemed to keep the Bloodhounds within distance, but CSI’s 8-for-10 clip from the charity strip in the final minute was more than enough of a cushion for the Dolphins, who won their 13th conference postseason title, and their fifth under current Head Coach Tony Petosa.
“I’m thrilled,” Petosa said after the game, “I thought we played incredibly hard and it was a well-deserved team
CSI’s Bloochy Magloire earned MVP honors
win. Our guys stayed tough when it counted during some difficult stretches.”
With 26 points, Bloochy Magloire led all scorers, and was named the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. For Magloire, it was the junior’s third straight trip to the Final. ”I am just really excited right now. It feels really good to do what we did,” he said. ”We never gave up or got down and we just kept playing.”
The Dolphins got a pair of double-doubles from Dylan Bulger (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Javon Cox (10 points, 11 rebounds). At the half, the pair had just seven points and 9 rebounds on 2-7 shooting. Chadwick-Myers finished with 15 points. For John Jay, Dennis and Harry each tallied 15 in the losing effort, with Griffith tallying 12 and Alexander 10 points. The Bloodhounds out-rebounded the Dolphins, 43-39, but shot just 37.3% (25-67) to CSI’s 48.3% (29-60).
For CSI, the win marked their CUNYAC-best 13th championship and elevated them to the NCAA National Division III Tournament, where they advanced to the Round of 16 a year ago. CSI will learn who their opponent will be and where for the tourneys first round, when the selections are made on Monday afternoon. For the latest news and info, be sure to follow www.csidolphins.com.