The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team was in action tonight, renewing their rivalry with their NCAA Division I counterparts at Wagner College at the Spiro Center, dropping a 107-64 decision at the hands of the Seahawks. The loss dropped the Dolphins to a season-opening 1-3, while the Seahawks won for the second-straight time, improving to 3-1.
The Dolphins started on solid footing, scoring an early tie, 5-5, on a long-range three from senior Edin Bracic, in his first action of the season. From there, however, CSI was mired in poor shooting, starting just 2-of-8 from the field, allowing Wagner to extend to an early, 11-6, advantage in the game’s opening five minutes. After a JoJo Cooper jumper extended WC up, 17-12, Stephen Flagg responded with a pair of baskets to cut the lead to 17-14 with 10:25 to go in the period. Wagner would respond, however, taking advantage of a heavy CSI foul count, and a pair of offensive rebounds off of free-throw misses to score an 8-2 run, sizing up the lead to 25-16.
The lead would grow for the Seahawks, as the home side took advantage of their work at the line and CSI turnovers to work the advantage up to 37-18 with just under five minutes to play in the first half. thanks to an 8-0 run. Signs of life from CSI resulted in a fast break layup from Christian Taylor on a Raymond Savage feeder and then Savage would hit a corner three to make it 39-23. Wagner had time for another major run, reeling off the next seven points, and finishing the half on a 13-3 run, punctuated by a Chase Freeman layup as time expired.
At the break, Wagner led, 53-28, canning 20 of an unprecedented 27 free-throw attempts in the stanza, optimized by a 15-4 edge in points off of CSI turnovers, as the Dolphins committed 11 giveaways in the first half.
Wagner began the half right back on the line as Cooper and Nigel Jackson converted a pair each to continue the Seahawks barrage. Flagg would break up the run with a three, but turnovers and fouls continued to plague the Dolphins, as CSI committed another seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the second frame, and by that time Wagner was already in the double-bonus, as both Darryl Bryant and Jade Spencer fouled out. Midway through the second half, Wagner assumed a 77-44 edge, with 16 of their 24 second half points coming from the line.
A determined and tenacious Wagner defense continued to pressure the Dolphins, ballooning the lead to as many as 42, 95-53, with a Blake Francis three, a lead they would match at 2:48. With reserved dumped into the game for both teams, the teams played relatively even on the scoreboard. Jamar Brown would finish with 13 markers off of the bench for the Seahawks in 12 minutes of work.
Leading the way for CSI was Flagg, posting 20 points to go with three rebounds. Next in line was Taylor, posting 12 points and five rebounds in the losing effort. Wagner was paced by Cooper’s 20 points in 24 minutes of action, while Francis put up 19 for the winners on 7-15 shooting from the field.
The teams combined for 60 personal fouls, resulting is Wagner’s 44-56 effort at the free-throw line, while CSI went 21-30 from the stripe. The teams also combined for 41 turnovers, with 22 committed by the Dolphins, a season high. Wagner dominated the glass, posting a 56-29 edge in rebounds, leading the team to a 40-24 edge in points in the paint and a 20-7 advantage in second chance points.
The win lifted Wagner to 14-3 all-time against their DIII counterparts.
Up next for CSI will be their home opener a week from tomorrow, when they face Stevens Institute of Technology on November 29, at 7pm, at the Sports & Recreation Center.