Down by 11 points in the first half, the College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad used an 18-5 run to end the first half, then another 20-6 run to open the second frame, to go to score an 88-78 win over visiting John Jay College at the Sports & Recreation Center as part of CUNYAC play.  The Dolphins won for the seventh-straight time, lifting to 14-5 overall and 8-2 in the CUNYAC, while the Bloodhounds fell to 3-17, 2-9, respectively.

Despite the final, CSI could not have started the game any worse, connecting on only one of their first eight shots while committing 9 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, falling behind, 10-2, in the early stages.  Twice, the Bloodhounds extended to a double-digit lead, the second on a Kris Owens’ three-pointer to make it 19-9 at 11:36.  After CSI notched the lead down to six on a Michael Tate lay-up, JJC went up by their largest lead on a Kendal Jordan powering drive inside to make it 27-16 at 7:59 to play in the frame.

That’s when CSI came to life.

The Dolphins amped up the defensive pressure, forcing turnovers while also finding their shooting touch.  The Dolphins reeled off an 11-0 run to take the lead, helped by a pair of Will Fonseca drives and two Thomas Delahanty jumpers.  Frank Schettino’s lay-up gave CSI its first lead, 30-29, with 3:33 to go, and after Kris Owens drained another three for JJC, CSI went into the lockers with a modest, 34-32, lead via a Fonseca layup.

As hot as the Dolphins ended the first half, they were just as scorching in the second half.  Three-straight three-pointers by Edin Bracic gave CSI a double-digit lead, 50-38, with 15:47 to go, and the Dolphins extended to a 16-point lead moments later on a pair of Fonseca lay-ins.  CSI kept distance from there, at one point going up by as many as 17 on a Schettino free-throw at 11:07.  JJC whittled the lead down to 10, 63-53, with 8:45 to go, but again CSI countered, this time with an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to take the lead, 74-55, with just over five minutes to play.

CSI’s biggest lead was 20 points, but the Bloodhounds made things interesting late, thanks to a series of free-throws and a trio of CSI turnovers.  The Dolphins, however, weathered the flurry by converting six of their final sight free throws with under a minute remaining to settle for an 88-78, final.

CSI was led by Fonseca’s 23 points and 14 rebounds, while Schettino notched 20 markers with 9 assists.  Bracic, Delahanty and Mohamed Marie each chimed in with 10 points apiece for the Dolphins, who shot a balmy 55.4% from the floor (31-56).  JJC shot just 38.9% from the field, led by Owens’ game-high 27 points, adding 9 rebounds.  CSI out-rebounded JJC, 43-33, but the Dolphins were a -7 in the turnover column, committing 19 turnovers, six more than their season average.

Up next for CSI will be a date with Brooklyn College on Friday, January 30, at 7:15pm in Brooklyn.