Bronx, NY | The red-hot College of Staten Island men’s basketball team stayed that way after 40 minutes in the Bronx tonight, slipping by Lehman College in a game in which they trailed most of the way, by an 84-79 count as part of CUNYAC play. CSI lifted to 10-6 overall and 6-1 in the conference, while Lehman fell to 5-8, 3-3, respectively.
Despite the game’s final score, it was Lehman that controlled play for much of the game in this one, as CSI got off to a slow start. The Lightning got off to an early 18-8 advantage, using two baskets each from Andre Hampton and Isaiah Geathers to get things started.
Two-straight Andrew Kartalis three’s got CSI closer, but the home team was able to rally back, and with less than five minutes remaining in the half, Geathers popped in a jumper and Will Feldman followed with a three to give Lehman their biggest lead to that point, 32-19, with 4:18 to go in the stanza.
After pawing back-and-forth, Lehman would go up 36-21 on a Miguel Haboosh jumper, but CSI finally got into a groove in the final two minutes, and were able to secure a 9-2 run to close the half to stay within striking distance at 38-30, going into halftime. Adeola Latunji scored seven-straight in the run, the first a three-point play, while Christian Taylor added a bucket as well.
CSI continued to chip away in the second frame. The Lightning went up by as many as nine on two occasions, but a 9-0 run for CSI in a span of less than two minutes knotted the score at 44-44, spearheaded by back-to-back Chamald Martin lay-ups.
Lehman would score to take back the lead but a resilient CSI kept pushing, forcing critical Lehman turnovers that led to points the other way. At 14:08, Stephen Flagg drove in for a basket, giving the Dolphins their first lead at 51-49. Feldman would record five-straight points from there to ignite a 7-0 Lehman run, but Kartalis responded with a big three, and after a Lightning turnover, Taylor drove in to knot the score.
From there, the lead would change hands five times until a three-pointer by Latunji at 6:50 gave CSI a 67-65 edge. After another LC turnover, Taylor popped in a jumper to expand the lead. Lehman responded with a Geathers jumper to answer, but with 5:29 to play, CSI made the most critical run of the game, going on an 8-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 79-69 edge over Lehman with just 1:39 to play. Flagg would post two baskets in the run with Taylor accounting for the other four points via the charity stripe. Over the four minute stretch Lehman shot 0-4 from the floor and committed four turnovers.
Lehman was able to cut the lead to six on a pair of occasions, but CSI went 5-6 from the free-throw line in the final 80 seconds to put the game on ice.
CSI shot 42% in the game (29-69) and were just 8-28 from three-point range (28.6%). Taylor led four Dolphins in double-figures with 26 points on 7-12 shooting from the floor. Latunji was next in tow with 17 points adding a team-high nine rebounds, while Flagg added 14 points and eight rebounds. Kartalis knocked in 13 points. Lehman was led by Geathers’ 24 points on 9-15 shooting with a game-high 10 rebounds, while Hampton finalized with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Lehman enjoyed a 44-38 rebounding edge in this one, but committed a whopping 28 turnovers, next to CSI’s 15.
CSI’s eight-game win streak is the longest under second-year Head Coach T.J. Tibbs and the team’s longest since a 15-game skein in 2016-17.
CSI will look to keep the streak intact when they host Baruch College in their next contest on Wednesday, January 16, at 7:30pm.