The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad led for a majority of the way, but couldn’t seal the deal, falling to visiting Anderson University (IN), 70-67, in the Championship Final of the 9th Annual Tournament of Heroes at the Sports & Recreation Center this evening.  The win lifted the Ravens to an overall record of 7-3, while the Dolphins fell to 6-3.  It was the third time CSI advanced to the Final, but again the Dolphins were denied the crown.
CSI took a modest 11-7 lead in the opening minutes powered by back-to-back three-pointers by Bloochy Magliore, but the Ravens powered back with a 9-0 run at 12:41capped by a Gabe Miller three to take their biggest first half lead, 16-11.  That sparked a 10-minutes stretch where the lead was exchanged hands five times and no team led by as many as three points.
Things turned in CSI’s favor in the closing minutes.  A pair of Jordan Young freebies gave CSI a 31-30 lead and after a Tibbs lay-up, Young converted another off of an Anderson miss.  After Anderson’s Brock Morrison answered with a three to make it 35-33, Tibbs fed Matt Van Manen underneath with six ticks left.  tibbs then promptly forced a Miller turnover and put up a three as time expired which sank through the net, giving CSI a 40-33 lead heading into the lockers.
CSI used the first 3+ minutes of the second stanza to open up its biggest lead at 46-35 on a David Hughes jumper.  Four straight points by AU’s Andrew Jones and another Morrison three cut the lead but CSI went back up by 11, 57-46, with 11:21 to go capped by another three-ball by Tibbs.
From there, however, momentum was seized by Anderson.  The Ravens opened a 14-1 run with five-straight Miller points, and an Jones lay-up gave the Ravens a 60-58 lead with 6:18 to go.  The teams traded shots from there, matching field goals and misses until Tibbs notched yet another three to knot the score at 67-67, with :48 to go.
Anderson drove down the clock, and after a timeout, Jarrin Forte took a pass and raced left to right, penetrating the paint and putting home a lay-up off the glass for a 69-67 advantage with 20 ticks to go.  In a bizarre twist, CSI then ran rampant with errors.  Bracing for a final shot, Jordan Young was called for steps with just seven seconds left.  Then, even with Dale Taranto making an extraordinary defensive play to break up a pass off of an Anderson player out of bounds, giving the Dolphins the ball again with six seconds left.
CSi asked for time but on their inbound, Tibbs tried to find Magliore but the pass was stolen by Miller.  Csi fouled and Miller made one of two free-throws to make the score 70-67 with five seconds to go.  Down to one final shot, Dale Taranto lost the handle on an inbound pass at center court, giving CSI three turnovers in five seconds of game play and never affording them an opportunity to tie in the frustrating final.
Despite the loss, CSi shot a blistering 53.1% from the field, arguable matched by Anderson’s 52.6%.  Tibbs led CSI with 22 markers, adding eight assists.  Magliore added 18 with four rebounds while Young closed with 12 points, shooting 5-5 from the field, notching a team-high eight rebounds.  Anderson was led by Jones’ 24 points in 31 minutes of action, Miller and Morrison notched 13 apiece, while Forte finished with 10 points and three assists.  For his performance, Jones was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Forte (AU) and Tibbs (CSI) joined Richard Stockton College’s Kai Massaquoi and University of Dallas’ Breaton Hightower as Tournament All-Stars.  Stockton defeated Dallas earlier in the evening, 70-39, in the Consolation leg.
CSI will pick up action again in the new year.  The team will travel to Brooklyn, NY, to take on Medgar Evers College on January 5, at 8pm.