Dallas, PA | Down by as many as 18 points in the second half the College of Staten Island men’s basketball team mounted a furious comeback but saw it fall short in the end, falling to Misericordia University, 68-64, as part of non-conference play. The loss dipped the Dolphins to a season-opening 0-2 start, while the Cougars advanced to 1-0 to begin their year.
Starved for offense the Dolphins were mired in poor shooting through the first frame and for the start of the second half before the wheels started to turn. The Dolphins, however, just could not seem to get over the hump, and another cold night at the free-throw line spelled doom in the end.
After a back-and-forth start, it was CSI that took a lead during the early stages of the first stanza. Junior Christian Taylor scored 13 of CSI’s first 17 points and Adeola Latunji then added a jumper to give CSI what would be their biggest lead of the game at 17-13 at the 11:30 mark.
From there, however, CSI would miss their next 12 shots, and in the process MU took advantage, using an 11-0 run to take a 29-21 edge, powered by seven Kenny Jason points, the last basket a three. Tyrell Mann would add another three to give the Cougars a double-digit lead, before a Latunji jumper cut the deficit to 36-28 at the break.
The Dolphins struggled again to find the bottom of the net in the early stages of the second period as well. The Dolphins connected on just a single basket in the first five minutes turning the ball over three times as MU started to put distance between the sides until Kenny scored another basket to stake the Cougars to a 51-33 edge with 15 minutes to play.
That’s when CSI started to make their move. Taylor got things started with a steal and lay-up and Latunji did the same, ending his drive with a dunk. Latunji and Taylor again converted, and then at 10:47, Chris Velasquez got in the scoring column with a lay-up to cut the lead to single digits, 51-43.
After falling behind by 11, CSI would eventually whittle the lead down to four on consecutive baskets by Latunji and Taylor, and with 3:31 left, Taylor found Latunji who dunked one home to make it a 60-58 game, prompting MU to call for time.
After a miss on a free throw, the Cougars converted two of their own, and down by four, CSI missed another free-throw, this time the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity to negate another chance.
With inside of a minute left, CSI still trailed by four. With 34 seconds left, Latunji unfortunately would miss two more freebies, and MU made two on their end to ice the game. Taylor was able to sneak in to convert a lay-in with seven ticks to play, but two more free-throws by MU’s Kenny, put a cap on the festivities and the wild finish.
Despite the loss, CSI’s Taylor led all scorers with 31 points, going 5-for-5 from the stripe while the rest of the team struggled, shooting just 4-12 from the line. Latunji was next in line with 22 points for CSI adding eight rebounds, while Chamald Martin finished with six points and nine rebounds. The Dolphins had awful luck from behind the arc, connecting on just one of 18 attempts.
Kenny led all scorers for Misericordia with 23 points, which included a 9-10 clip from the stripe. Foster Clark put up 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds in the outing. The Cougars out-rebounded the Dolphins 54-39.
The Dolphins will have a short lay-off before having to get back to action as part of the Roanoke College Tip Off Tournament that begins on Friday evening. CSI will play No. 18 Emory University at 8pm on Saturday in their leg of the tournament.