In a season-opener that pit two preseason conference favorites, the College of Staten Island men’s basketball team made a huge opening statement, turning back Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, 72-68.  The Dolphins will open with a 1-0 record, while the Ospreys, ranked No. 21 nationally by and No. 37 nationally by, opens at 0-1.

“Anytime you can beat an NJAC team on the road, especially one as good as Stockton, it says a lot,” said Head Coach Tony Petosa.  “It’s one game and we have to get ready for the next one, but this was a nice win for our team tonight and I’m very proud of them.”

It took some time for the Dolphins to get going, as Stockton raced out to the first five points of the contest and held a lead for the opening four minutes.  Consecutive baskets by senior Thomas Delahanty then got CSI started on an 10-0 run to put CSI up, 14-8 with 14:07 left in the opening stanza./  From there, the game teetered back-and-forth, win both teams making mini runs to keep the game always within reach.  Consecutive lay-ups by Will Fonseca nursed CSI’s lead up to as many as eight, 20-12, with 10:48 to go, but then a personal seven-point spurt by SU’s Jaymere Hadden, starting with an emphatic dunk, but the home squad up again, 21-20 with 8:35 to go in the stanza.

The first half saw three lead changes from there, before another pair of Fonseca lay-ins gave CSI a little breathing room, and the visitors were able to score a 30-25 halftime edge.

The good feelings CSI had an intermission were quickly quelled however, when the Ospreys raced out to a 7-0 run to start the second half, taking a 32-30 edge just 2:29 in, capped by a Darius Jerkins lay-up.  CSI took the lead back a couple of minutes later, helped largely by an Edin Bracic three to help give the squad a 36-35 edge.  Twice the Ospreys would tie, the final time at 15:09, 40-40, but CSI promptly killed the threat with a Fonseca jam and a Vincent Dacunto three.

From there, CSI was able to keep Stockton at bay, but not before some tense moments.  Marcus Harmon cut the CSI lead to 54-52 with 7:13 to go, and later, Harmon’s freebies cut another large CSI lead down to 63-59 with 3:11 to go.  Still, CSI weathered the storm, and took a commanding 68-61 lead with 2:14 on another Delahanty lay-up on a give from Fonseca.  

A free-throw by Delahanty gave CSI a 70-64 edge with 56 ticks to go, but the Ospreys had time for one more push.  Armin Cane rattled in two freebies to make it 70-66, and after a prompt CSI turnover, Hadden hit an off-balance deep jumper to make it 70-68 with 26 seconds left.  Originally, Hadden awarded three points on the basket, but later the score was reset to show Stockton still down by a bucket.  With 17 ticks to go Hadden fouled Delahanty, and the senior who was just 1-4 from the line to that point sank both free-throws to make it 72-68.  Down to their last gasps, Stockton could not convert on a desperation three and could not muster a final shot after a CSI turnover, as the Dolphins escaped with the 72-68 final.

“They did a good job with their athleticism putting pressure on us, but we held up very well,” Petosa noted.  “I thought our guys did a good job of staying composed and handling themselves in those stretches.”

Fonseca led the way for CSI with 24 points on 9-18 shooting from the field, adding eight rebounds.  Delahanty finalized with 17 points and five rebounds, while fellow senior Frank Schettino finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.  Cane finished with 21 points for Stockton, While Hadden finalized with 17 points and six caroms.  CSI shot an even 50% from the floor (27-54), adding a 64% clip from the line (14-22).  Stockton shot 42.6%, and was a chilly 8-for-15 from the stripe (53.3%).

For CSI it was the first win over Stockton since March 2, 1979, with the Ospreys having won the last three games in the series.  Last week, CSI was chosen as the co-favorite in the CUNYAC, while Stockton was the NJAC choice as its top team in its Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

?The Dolphins are back in action this weekend as part of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Tip-Off tournament in Worcester, MA.  They will take on Colby College on Friday to introduce play at 7:30pm.