Flashback Friday is looking back at the top moments from the 2018-19 athletic year each Friday over the summer at the College of Staten Island. Our countdown continues with another look at a CUNYAC Championship, this time indoors where CSI faced off against Baruch on the men’s basketball hardwood.
#8 – CUNYAC Men’s Basketball Championship thriller ends with pair of buzzer-beaters
Date: February 22, 2019
Who: CSI Men’s Basketball
Where: Hunter College – New York, NY
What Happened: In what ended as a tough loss for the Dolphins, it was a thriller from start to finish between CSI and Baruch in the CUNYAC Championship. The game featured 14 ties and 9 lead changes. One tie was forced by a heavily-contested three point basket by Christian Taylor with four seconds to go, arguably one of the biggest shots of the season. It was matched, however, by a buzzer beating jumper by Baruch to end the game at 76-74 in Baruch’s favor.
Q&A…with Rigaud Destime
Rigaud, obviously it didn’t end the way you wanted it to, but it was an exciting year for CSI Basketball last season. How impressed were you by how well the team came together and played?
Truth be told I was very impressed and more so proud of how my team played the entire season. We had lost many seniors and returners and had many freshmen come in this year and although we had early season struggles I believe that we as whole found our identity as a team and did really well.
You guys came in as the CUNYAC back-to-back Champions, so that puts a bullseye on your back right from the start. What’s it like to go on the court each game with every team gunning for you?
I love that feeling. Knowing that every team that goes against you is trying to take you down and is giving you their best game keeps you on your toes. It makes you better because you can never have an off day because you’re a champion.
The team got off to a tough start (1-5). Was it tough for you guys to start out in the hole like that?
It definitely was difficult. Our schedule before conference play was very challenging as we were playing some really great teams. But I believe that the level of competition that we were playing prepared us for our conference and prepared us to dominate.
Despite the start, the team really started to come together down the stretch. How confident were you coming into the playoffs?
We were extremely confident. We knew we were the best team. We had done the work, we were prepared physically and mentally and we were ready to go for the three-peat.
There was some controversy going into the Championship, wasn’t there? It snowed for the semifinal round and CSI had to play the semis and championship on back-to-back days. Baruch got an extra day’s rest. Did that affect you guys going in?
The circumstances were not ideal and I am sure that many of our guys were fatigued during the late stretches of the championship game. We had played John Jay the day before and they were a really good team. They had beat us twice during the regular season and we really put together a collective effort to beat them and advance to the championship.
You had one of the best games of your career on this night: 23 points, six rebounds, 5-7 from three and a pair of steals in 35 minutes. How comfortable were you taking over the game offensively like that?
I felt very comfortable. I know that my teammates trust me fully and they believed that I would be a very big part in our playoff run. I did not think about much except stepping up for my teammates and trying to ensure a win for us any way possible.
The game had 14 lead changes and 9 ties, and no tie was bigger than Christian’s three at the end. How big was that shot and what was your impression of that performance?
That was one of the most clutch shots I’ve seen in person. He wasn’t having that great of a game offensively and for him to make a shot like that when we needed it most shows how good of a player that Christian is.
Of course, Baruch sank a buzzer beater of their own to win it, and that obviously gave them the win. I’m sure the team was very disheartened, but what did you make of the way you guys performed and what you accomplished overall?
I was very proud of how we battled them and never backed down. Baruch came to play and fought really hard. We did everything we could and sometimes the cookie doesn’t crumble the way you want but we showed a lot of character during the entire season and especially the championship game.
Obviously, there is a lot of reason to be excited about CSI basketball and you will be a junior this upcoming season. What are your personal and team goals coming up in 2019?
I believe that coming into the next season that we can win every game. Obviously, that is a very bold prediction but I believe in my team and the coaching staff and know that it’s the goal. For myself, I know that with the work that I am putting in this offseason I can be an all- conference player and maybe even more.