The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad used a strong second half to overturn a Brooklyn College halftime lead, taking a 78-74 win over the streaking Bulldogs as part of CUNYAC play at the Sports & Recreation Center this evening. The Dolphins lifted their overall mark to 6-4 and advanced to 3-1 in CUNYAC play, while the Bulldogs fell to 10-2, 4-1, respectively.
Winners of 10 straight, Brooklyn saw their first 9 points of the contest scored by Jai Kellman, who gave the Bulldogs their first lead at 6-4 in the early stages. CSI held BC at bay for the first half of the opening frame, using a series of inside baskets from juniors Thomas Delahanty and Will Fonseca. BC wrestled the lead back at 21-20 with a three-pointer by Harry Hazan before CSI followed with a 9-2 run, which featured a Fonseca dunk and a three-pointer by Vincent Dacunto to give CSI its biggest lead of the stanza, 29-23, with 8:47 to play.
From there, the Bulldogs answered the call and ended the half on a 19-10 run. Kellman knocked down another jumper and Lorenzo Williams tied the game at the free-throw line before a Steven Diaz gave BC back the lead, 34-31 with 5:01 to go. That was part of a 12-0 BC run, capped by a Williams layup that got BC up 38-31. After that, CSI battled back to take the lead with 1:42 to go on an 8-0 response. BC went into the lockers with a 42-39 lead, powered by 18 first-half points by Kellman.
The teams traded a series of baskets to start the second frame before BC settled to a 55-50 edge with 15:49 to go on an Egzon Gjonbalaj tip-in, before CSI made their move. The Dolphins scored an eye-popping 13-0 run over the next five minutes, powered by four straight Michael Tate points and two three-pointers by freshman Edin Bracic. It a fitting response, BC countered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 63-63 with 7:38 left, setting the stage for a feverish end.
Later, with the score tied again, CSI again made a decisive move with smothering defense and a 9-1 run that ended in another Fonseca transition basket with 2:03 to play. From there, CSI struggled from the free-throw line and the Bulldogs were able to chip away at the lead. CSI went just 5-12 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes, but it was enough to ward off the Bulldogs, who were able to cut the CSI lead to three but finished just 1-7 from the field in the final 1:45 of the contest.
CSI was paced by Fonseca’s 24 points and season-high 18 rebounds, the 17th-highest single game total in CSI history. Thomas Delahanty added a career high 18 points on 8-9 shooting, while Bracic added 13 markers. Kellman finished with a team-high 22 points for the Bulldogs adding five boards. Valon Djombalic finishes with 13 points and 16 rebounds, as Brooklyn was able to out-rebound CSI by a healthy 59-40 mark. CSI shot a chilly 9-23 from the free-throw line (39%), but were able to force 18 BC turnovers, finishing a +7 in the turnover column.
The win for the Dolphins was their 9th-straight over Brooklyn, and CSI improved their record to 37-13 all-time against the Bulldogs, which includes a 16-7 mark at home.
Up next for CSI will be a road test against The City College of New York on Tuesday at 7:30pm.