The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad dropped their regular season finale tonight, as St. Joseph’s College of Brooklyn used a school-record 17 three-point buckets to score a 103-102 win over the Dolphins at the Sports & Recreation Center. On a night when the Dolphins honored lone senior Liwei Pan in a pre-game ceremony, CSI fell to 15-9 overall while the visiting Bears advanced to 7-18.
Red-hot SJC shot a scorching 54.4% from the field on the evening, a mark that included a 12-for-18 performance from downtown (66.7%) in the opening stanza, as the Bears built an eight point halftime lead. The teams traded shots in the early going, playing through six lead changes in the opening eight minutes. After a Jordan Young lay-in got CSI up 18-15, SJC got right back via back-to-back threes by Jan Rogowski and Thomas Karasinki. CSI scored the next two baskets to take the lead again, but the visitors followed with a 12-4 run on four straight three-balls to take a 33-26 lead with 7:42 to play in the stanza.
Another 10-0 run featuring seven straight point by the Bears’ Jon Matzelle gave SJC their biggest lead of the stanza at 43-28 with 5:43 to go. Needing a lift, CSI used a mini, 10-5, run to close the stanza, highlighted by a pair of Young baskets and a floating lay-up by Bloochy Magliore as time expired.
After a 6-2 run by CSI to open the second half, the hot shooting for SJC resurfaced as Ismael Dabo got the Bears started on a 12-0 run over just 2:12 to give SJC their biggest lead, 65-49, a run that included another three-point bomb by Johnny Mendez. SJC led by as many as 18 points, at 13:37, before the Dolphins began to chip away. A 10-0 CSI run, highlighted by a pair of Dale Taranto three’s got CSI back into the fray, and after another Mendez trey answered the call for SJC, consecutive three’s by T.J. Tibbs got CSI to within five, 80-75, with 9:03 to go.
CSI got it to a one-possession game at 84-81 with 7:59 to go but another three-pointer by Rogowski eliminated the threat. CSI would not get it to a one-possession game again until under three minutes to play, when a Taranto three and a Louis Valdes lay-up made it 93-91 with 2:37 to go. But the Bears had an answer again with a Matzelle layup. On the very next possession, Jordan Young buried a short jumper in the paint to make it 95-93. CSI then pressed and the Bears struggled to get a shot off until Rogowski found an open Mendez who buried a three-pointer, the Bears’ 17th, as the shot clock expired in one of the biggest shots of the game. But that wasn’t the end.
The Bears added a pair of freebies at :33 to go up by seven, 100-93 before CSI almost did the impossible. On the next CSI possession, Tibbs found an open Magliore who nailed a three from in front of his own bench to make it 100-96 with :24 to play. CSI asked for time, and with no timeouts, SJC was then whistled for not inbounding the ball within five seconds, giving CSI possession again. CSI missed a three but fouled Matzelle with 18 ticks remaining. Matzelle made one free throw to get his team up, 101-96.
CSI used just eight seconds before Tibbs buried a three-pointer of his own with 8.6 ticks left to make it 101-99. CSI fouled SJC’s Mendez before the inbounds pass, and Mendez banked both his freebies to go up, 103-99. CSI played it up the floor again, and this time Phil Broomfield buried a three pointer with 3.1 ticks remaining to make it 103-102. CSI promptly fouled Karasinski, and Karasinski missed his first free-throw and then SJC was whistled for a lane violation to give CSI back the ball with still 3.1 seconds left. Magliore corralled the inbounds pass near center court, calmly ran into the zone and heaved up a long two-pointer as time expired, but the ball hit the back iron and rattled out, giving SJC the exhilarating win.
For the game, SJC shot 17-for-28 from three-point range (60.7%), shooting only a dubious 12-for-21 (57.1%) from the charity stripe. Rogowski finished with five treys and 24 points to go with 9 rebounds. Mendez scored 23 on a perfect 4-for-4 clip from downtown, while Matzelle heaved up 21 points and a team-best 13 rebounds. CSI was led by Taranto’s 24 markers (5-8 three-point range) and 10 rebounds. Young, who fouled out, scored 23 points, while Tibbs banked 18 markers, all in CSI’s 59-point second half.
Despite the loss, CSI’s 15-win regular season is the most since the 2003-04 season, when the Dolphins finished the regular season with a 17-7 overall mark. The Dolphins’ next match will be as part of the CUNYAC/Con Edison Postseason Tournament. CSI, which earned the top seed in the tourney, will host No. 8 John Jay College on Sunday at 1pm at the Sports & Recreation Center as part of quarterfinal action. The winner will move on to semifinal play on Wednesday, February 23.