The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team saw an exciting beginning to its 2010-11 season tonight, overcoming a halftime deficit to claim a 71-64 win over Ursinus College as part of opening round action of the Inn and Middletown Tip-Off Tournament held at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.  The Dolphins improved to 1-0 with the win overall and will move on to face the host Cardinals in tomorrow afternoon’s 3pm championship contest, while the Bears (0-1) will face Anna Maria College (1-1) in the consolation game, at 1pm.
Boasting three new faces to the starting lineup, the Dolphins were the crisp team early as a Dale Taranto jumper gave CSI a quick 2-0 lead.  The game bounced back and forth in the opening minutes, until five straight points by first-year junior Thomas Tibbs capped a 12-3 CSI run to give the Dolphins an 18-9 lead with 11 minutes to play in the first stanza.  It would prove to be CSI’s biggest lead of the contest.
The Bears chipped away from there, going on an exhausting 19-4 run to take a 28-22 lead over the next seven minutes.  The run was sparked by a pair of jumpers each by Kevin Janowski and TJ Jones.  The Dolphins promptly asked for time out to recover, and followed by amping up the defensive play, allowing only a single Bears basket over the final four first half minutes, while three-straight jumpers by freshman David Hughes got the Dolphins to within 30-28 at the break.
A three-point play by Tibbs 17 seconds into the second frame got CSI back on top, 31-30, and from there, the lead changed hands five times over the next minute and a half.  Another jumper by Tibbs at 18:17, part of his game-high 23 points, gave the Dolphins a 36-35 and the team would never trail again.
CSI led by as many as eight points in the frame, but Ursinus kept crawling back.  The Bears had their chances, but costly turnovers and clutch shooting by the Dolphins kept the frustrated Bears at bay.  Ursinus, meanwhile, was mired in a 5-for-14 shooting performance from behind the arc in the second half, and the team that shot 78% as a team at the free-throw line last year shot just 4-8 from the stripe tonight.  CSI iced the game in the final minutes, shooting 5-of-6 from the line to earn the 71-64 final.
Aside from Tibbs’ 23 markers, Taranto banked 16 points while frosh Bloochy Magliore punched in 14 off of the bench.  Fellow freshman Hughes poured 9 points and a team-high six rebounds.  The Bears’ Jon Ward led all Ursinus players with 18 points with four rebounds while Matt Hilton tallied 13 in defeat.  CSI shot 49.0% for the game (25-51), forcing 21 Ursinus turnovers next to 15 of their own.
Host Wesleyan defeated Anna Maria College, 74-69, to open tournament play.  They play CSI tomorrow at 3pm in the final.