In a game that was within reach into the late stages, the College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad dropped a 74-66 decision to Salem State on neutral turf, as part of the Hampton Inn Classic on the campus of UMass-Dartmouth in North Dartmouth, MA.  In a game that featured a total of 53 free-throws between the sides the Dolphins struggled at the stripe all evening leading to their demise.  The team dropped to 0-1, and will play the host school tomorrow at 4:30pm.

CSI looked crisp early, and a Will Fonseca driving lay-up, followed by an Edin Bracic three, gave the Dolphins a 7-3 edge.  Later, Fonseca had another power move result in an 11-8 edge at the 12:06 mark, but it would prove to be CSI’s last lead of the game.  After a round of cold shooting, a Jon Perez three tied the game and ignited a 13-1 run by SSU to give them a 22-12 edge in the first half.

CSI cut the lead down to four, 22-18, on a Frank Schettino three, but from there the game was all about the Dolphins trying to work their way back, and after several attempts in each half, the Dolphins just couldn’t seem to turn the corner.  The team was mired in poor shooting as well, scoring only six points in the final six minutes of the first half, including three missed free-throws and went into the half down, 32-24.

Schettino completed a three point play and then scored again to make the game 36-36 with 15:29 to go, but the Dolphins again went cold, not converting a field goal again for nearly three minutes on a Fonseca dunk to make it 41-40.  Nicholas Grassa responded with a three-ball for SSU, frustrating the Dolphins.  Later in the frame, Fonseca went on a six-point tear, tying the score at 50-50, but again SSU responded with two straight layups.  

As the game moved into the late stages, free-throws would tell the story.  Fonseca again got the Dolphins within distance, converting a lay-up at 2:27 to make it cut SSU’s lead to 61-60,  SSU converted a pair of freebies before Schettino again got the Dolphins to within one, but again, SSU converted another pair of free-throws this time at 1:36.  SSU did not stop there, making seven out of eight attempts at the line in the last 1:01 to put the game on ice.  Over that same stretch, the Dolphins went 0-3 from the floor, 0-2 from the line and committed a pair of turnovers, leading to what could be considered a lop-sided final score in an otherwise very tight affair.

Fonseca led all scorers with 28 points on 12-23 shooting, adding 12 rebounds, while Schettino dropped in 26 points.  Schettino was 7-10 from the free-throw line, but the rest of the Dolphins combined to go 7-15 (45%).  SSU was led by Brian Ortiz who had 25 points while Marcus Faison finished with 13.  The Dolphins were out-rebounded by a hefty, 51-34, count.

CSI will play host UMass-Dartmouth tomorrow afternoon, who fell to Trinity (CT), 86-83, in their leg of action.