The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad was on the front end of a nail biter tonight, squeaking out an 80-75 winner over visiting York College to extend their current winning streak to 13 games at the Sports & Recreation Center. The win lifted the Dolphins to 14-2 overall and a perfect 8-0 within the CUNYAC, while the Cardinals, whose only conference losses are to the Dolphins this season, fell to 11-6, 7-2, respectively.
In a game that featured 12 ties and 22 lead changes, one got the sense that the game would culminate in a fever finish, and that is exactly what transpired. Before all of that though, the teams jockeyed for positioning. Neither team led by more than four points in the first half, as both teams used suffocating defense, sound work on the boards, and strong inside drives to register. CUNYAC leading scorer Michael Woods was held to just four first-half points by the CSI defense, but his lay-up at 11:40, gave York their biggest lead of the frame at 10-7. CSI retaliated with a 7-0 run, to take what would be their biggest lead, 14-10, just a minute later and from there, it was back-and-forth.
CSI got into the lockers with a modest, 33-31, advantage, but the second half saw more swings in the action. At 14:08, the game saw its 10th tie at 41-41 and from there York went on the offensive, as a Woods lay-up and Justin Garvin three gave the visitors a 48-43 edge. Moments later, two Frankie Schettino freebies and a bucket by Jonathan Chadwick-Myers shifted the lead back in CSI’s favor, 51-50.
After York grabbed a 56-55 lead at the 9-minute mark, CSI made its move, going on an 11-1 run over the next 4:25. The run was capped by an impressive three-point play by junior Will Fonseca. The run may have deflated some teams, but the Cardinals were unwilling to bend, and quickly responded with their own 10-1 run, knotting the score at 67-67.with just 2:52 left. Like a prizefighter with more gas in the tank, CSI swung back. Chadwick-Myers registered a great three-point play, going in-between defenders to get up a lay-up and adding the point after, and after a YC turnover, Schettino nailed a three-pointer with the shot-clock almost expired to give CSI the six-point edge with 1:37 to play. York then missed a three of their own and a seemingly easy lay-up underneath on the rebound and after grabbing the rebound, Javon Cox found a wide-open Bloochy Magloire for an uncontested lay-up that gave CSI a 75-67 edge with just 54 seconds to play.
Then came the Michael Woods show. The junior exploded for 27 second-half points, but six came in the final minute. First, Woods scored a driving lay-up with 42 ticks to go, then proceeded to steal the inbounds pass by Schettino and made another lay-up with 35 seconds to play. Now down by four, Woods stole another pass from Fonseca and turned it into another lay-in to reduce CSI’s lead to just two in a span of 9 seconds. Woods then fouled CSI’s Schettino on the next possession, and the Dolphins freshman made one of the two free-throws to put CSI up by three. With 15 seconds to play, York got to within one on a Garvin put-back off of an Omar St. John miss. Forced to press, CSI was able to break away and Magloire was found wide-open again to put CSI up by three, 78-75.
Down to perhaps their final shot, YC’s Donald Rodriguez missed what would have been a game-tying three, and again CSI raced up the floor, ending with a Cox dunk with four seconds to go to essentially end the game. St. John missed a three for York at the buzzer, as CSI was able to hang on and win by five points in a game that was closer than even the score would indicate.
The Dolphins finished the game shooting a robust 57.1% (32-56) but fell victim to 18 turnovers. Neither team shot particularly well from downtown, as they went a combined 3-22 from the arc. The Dolphins held a slight edge on the glass, 35-34, but the Cardinals held the offensive rebound advantage, 14-9.
Leading the way for CSI was Magloire with 17 points, followed by 14 each from Frankie Schettino and Will Fonseca. Cox added a game-high 11 rebounds to go with his 10 points. Woods was the hero for the Cardinals, spreading out 31 points on 12-26 shooting, adding seven rebounds. Jaron Williams scored 16 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out in the late stages.
CSI will next play Brooklyn College on Saturday at 1pm. That game will be preceded by the CSI Men’s Basketball Alumni Game that will tip-off at 11am.