In a game that featured seven lead changes and five ties, the Kean University Cougars rallied for a fevered finish to take a 95-85 final from visiting College of Staten Island in an afternoon non-conference tilt on Monday, breaking CSI’s modest four-game win skein. The win lifted the Cougars to a 12-5 overall mark while the Dolphins fell to 10-4.
In a game typical of the series, the contest was well-played and tight throughout, as Kean’s closing 26-15 run over the final seven minutes was the difference in the unbalanced final score. The teams shot a combined 64-of-116 (55.2%) from the floor while connecting for a total of 18 three-pointers. The Cougars scorched the charity stripe for 89%, nailing 21-of-24 shots, forcing 20 CSI turnovers.
A series of runs paced the first half, as CSI erased a modest five-point Kean lead with a quick 8-2 run to put the Dolphins ahead 12-11 on the completion of a four-point play by T.J. Tibbs. Later, after Tibbs and Kean’s Jonathan Jones traded three’s, the Cougars laced a 14-4 run to take a 28-19 lead with 9:31 to play. Kean ballooned its lead to as many as 12 points, 35-23, when Mike Shaughnessy buried another from beyond the arc.
CSI countered to close the first half. Jordan Young canned his first three-pointer of the year to get the Dolphins started on a 18-4 run, as CSI made six three-pointers in seven tries to close the first half, including another two by Tibbs. After regaining the lead, a Diego Guttierez jumper tied the score at 41-41 at intermission.
CSI continued to seize momentum, gaining their biggest lead, 52-46, on a Dale Taranto lay-up, but after a 10-4 Kean run, the game stayed even until the final seven minutes. With CSI nursing a 70-69 lead, the Cougars rallied. A Jones layup followed by a Guttierez three got the run started and after CSI cut the lead to three, 76-73, on a Tibbs lay-up, Kean countered with a numbing, 8-2, run over the next three minutes to stake Kean to a 84-75 lead with 1:33 to go. Another three by Bloochy Magliore and a lay-up by Young got CSi back down by as few as four with :56 to play, but the home team ended on a 9-3 run, sizzling at the free-throw line to put the game away.
Seventeen Kean players touched the hardwood as CSI gave up its highest point total of the season (barring overtime). The Dolphins were by Tibbs’ career-high 27 points, adding six assists, while Young offered 20 in the loss, also with six assists. Jones finished with a game-high 31 points for Jones complete with 10 rebounds.
CSI is back in action on Wednesday evening, traveling to face City College of New York in a 7pm CUNYAC contest.