The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad took a successful first step in defense of its ECAC Metro NY/NJ Championship, prevailing over Lehman College, 76-65, as part of quarterfinal play at the Apex Arena in the Bronx, NY.  For the Dolphins it was their first win in three tries over the Lightning this season, and will advance them to play top-seeded Brooklyn College in the Semifinals on Saturday at 7pm.  CSI improved to 18-9 overall while Lehman finished their campaign at 18-10.

The Dolphins never trailed in the game, using a strong shooting touch and fast play up and down the floor to wear down the host Lightning.  A pair of Will Fonseca lay-ups gave CSI a quick, 8-4, edge, and with 6:39 gone by in the Dolphins scored their first double-digit lead via a Greg Civiletti lay-up to extend CSI to 21-11.  CSI led by as many as 13 after that and Lehman cut the lead to 9 at one point, but a 10-3 run in the final 2:30 of the frame that gave the Dolphins their biggest lead, 41-23.  Fonseca and Michael Tate both buried a pair of baskets in the run, with Fonseca adding a three-pointer.

From there, Lehman tried to chip away at the lead in the second frame, and although they were successful, it took a lot of time for Lehman to draw close.  A Jerome Jones jumper cut CSI’s lead to 51-38, but then CSI traded baskets from there, as the Lightning defense had trouble stopping Mohamed Marie who converted a pair of baskets, and before long, a Tate lay-up gave CSI back a 61-45 lead with 9:17 left.

It took over seven minutes for Lehman to close to within 10, and even when they did, the Dolphins went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line with inside of two minutes left, all of them by sophomore Frank Schettino to nestle away a 76-65 win.

Fonseca led all with 33 points and 11 rebounds on a 15-for-22 shooting performance.  Schettino added 14 for the Dolphins, who shot 51.6% overall.  Jones led the Lightning off of the bench with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Orlando Minott scored 11 markers.  CSI was a +4 in the takeaway department (14/18) and held a modest rebounding edge, 32-30.

CSI, the No. 5 seed in the eight team foray, will now face top-seeded Brooklyn College at Brooklyn on Saturday at 7:00pm.  CSI and Brooklyn split two regular season matches this season, with both teams winning on their home floor.