For the first time since 2004, the College of Staten Island men’s basketball team advanced to the championship leg of its own holiday tournament, striking down the University of Dallas, 80-57, at the Sports and Recreation Center in the opening day’s competition of the 9th Annual Tournament of Heroes earlier this evening.  The win broke up a two-game losing skid, sending the Dolphins to 6-2 overall while the Crusaders fell to 2-8.  The Dolphins will face off against Anderson University (IN), a 73-70 winner over Richard Stockton College, in tomorrow night’s championship game at 7:30pm.  The consolation game will start at 5:30pm.
CSI led from from start to finish, racing out to a 15-0 start over the game’s first five and a half minutes.  The run was powered by a couple of baskets each by Matt Van Manen and David Hughes, while junior Jordan Young capped the run with a pair of fast-break lay-ins.  From there, Dallas scratched away at the lead as both teams traded baskets, but another 11-2 CSI run at 6:16, gave the Dolphins a commanding, 32-11, edge.  In an emphatic end to the stanza, freshman Bloochy Magliore converted a transition three-pointer at 1:38 and then finalized the first half scoring with an uncontested dunk to give CSI a 43-21 edge heading into the lockers.
CSI led by as many as 29 in the second frame as back-to-back treys by Magliore followed by a Young lay-up made it 73-44 at the 5:45 mark.  From there, Dallas could only narrow the lead down to as a few as 23 on a pair of occasions, as CSI got 25 points off of their bench to guide the team to a win.
The Dolphins were paced by Magliore’s 21 markers on 8-of-14 shooting as CSi as a team shot a crisp 52.3% from the field.  Jordan Young added 15 points and seven assists.  T.J. Tibbs pitched in to dish a game-high 9 assists.  Dallas’ Braeton Hightower led all scorers with 22 pointers, while Ross Davidson led the way with 9 rebounds.
Prior to the game, CSI paid homage to Terrence Aiken, Scott Davidson, and Tom Hannafin, basketball alums who perished on 9/11, to which the tournament serves to honor.
For CSI, it was the first time they have won an opening round game in the tournament since 2004, when they defeated McDaniel College in the opener before losing to New Jersey City University in the final.  In the eight-year history of the tournament, CSI has never come away with a title and are 0-2 in championship games of this tourney.