CSI’S SEASON ENDS IN CUNYAC QUARTERFINAL PLAY

For the second consecutive year the College of Staten Island men’s basketball season ended at the hands of York College, only this time it was as part of the CUNYAC/Con Edison Postseason Championship Tournament Quarterfinals, falling 70-67 at the Sports & Recreation Center.  It was a see-saw game the entire way and the Dolphins had their chances but the Cardinals weathered a late flurry to score the win, improving to 14-12 overall and advancing to semifinal play.  The Dolphins’ season is over for now at 17-9, and the team will await word on a prospective ECAC Postseason bid at the close of the month.

In a game that featured eight ties and 9 lead changes, CSI bounced out to a 10-2 start, fueled by a pair of Will Fonseca baskets.  In a recurring theme of the night, York battled back with an 11-2 run to take a 13-12 lead at 13:09, fueled by a trio of three-pointers and then a dunk by Jaron Williams.  CSI would score the next blow, a 13-4 run over the next three minutes, as Vincent Dacunto fished in a pair of three’s.  York responded with a 9-0 answer, and so it went in the first half until ultimately, CSI nursed a thin, 35-32, edge at intermission.

Although both teams shot the ball well, the teams went through a lull in the opening minutes of the second frame, and CSI especially became turnover-prone, fumbling it over six times in the opening seven minutes of the second stanza while only taking four shots.  The dry spell helped York score a 14-2 run over six minutes, going up by their biggest margin, 51-43, with just over 10 minutes to play, helped by seven Cyril Reid points.

CSI refused to go down quietly and came alive from there, going on an immediate 10-0 run over the next two minutes, again fueled by a pair of Fonseca lay-ins and a three-point play by Khari Rollock.  Williams answered with a three-point play of his own for York, swinging the lead back in York’s favor and setting up for a wild finish.

At 6:10, a Frank Schettino jumper gave CSI a 57-56 lead, but it would prove to be their final one of the game.  Williams tallied a pair of free-throws to take back the lead, and two more baskets by the senior extended York to five, 62-57 with 2:12 left.  With 1:05 left things looked bleak for CSI when a pair of Williams’ freebies gave York a 66-60 lead, but CSI had room for one more surge.

Will Fonseca canned a three from the top of the circle with 55 seconds left, and after employing a press, York turned the ball over and Schettino went right up with a lay-up to cut it to 66-65 with 51 ticks to go.  The Cardinals turned the ball over yet again and CSI had possession.  With the shot clock winding down, Rollock would miss a baseline jumper and the long rebound led to a fast break layup for Williams to give the visitors a 68-65 lead with just 11 seconds left.  Down to their last possession, CSI would not get off a shot.  Instead, Fonseca was fouled in the backcourt, and in the double-bonus, Fonseca sunk both free-throws to make it 68-67 with seven seconds to go.  CSI immediately fouled, but Terell Roper buried his freebies and down to their final shot with no timeouts to spare, Schettino would have a three blocked by Roper as time expired.

CSI connected on 51% of their shots (26-51) but were careless with the basketball, turning it over 18 times and finishing a minus-9 in the turnover differential column.  Fonseca led all Dolphins with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Schettino settled with 17 points and eight assists.  Williams finalized with a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds for York, while Reid ended his day with 13 markers and seven rebounds.  CSI finished just 11-of-17 from the line, while York converted over 70% on their end, sinking 19-of-27 freebies.

For the Dolphins, who made it all the way to the CUNYAC Final four years in a row, the loss in the quarterfinals is their first since 2009-10, and their first at home since 2007-08.  CSI continues to lead the all-time series with York, 60-24, but York has now won the last three meetings in Tournament play, and CSI boasts just a 6-5 record against them all-time in CUNYAC tourney play.

For now, CSI will sit tight and await word on a potential ECAC Metro NY.NJ Postseason selection.  Those selections will be made on Monday, March 2.
 

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