The College of Staten Island men’s basketball had a modest second half lead against NCAA Division I Wagner College this evening at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, but in the end, Wagner College emerged with a lop-sided, 83-59, win, scoring another win in the Staten Island basketball rivalry. The Seahawks lifted to 2-3 overall, while the Dolphins fell to 3-2.
Up 46-45 more than five minutes into the second half, the Seahawks exploded from there to sprint towards the finish line in the win, powered by Mike Aaman’s 18 points and Dwaun Anderson’s 17 markers. Most of the damage was done on the interior, where Wagner outscored the Dolphins by 14, and out-rebounded the visitors in the second half, 29-12.
It took a while, however, to be anything close to a runaway. Even without the services of point guard Frank Schettino for the second straight game, CSI stayed nearly stride for stride with the Northeast Conference unit. Both teams traded shots in the opening minutes, sharing the lead in stretches, at times powering with the inside game and at others, relying on the long-ball. The result was a swap on the lead five times in the opening five minutes. CSI’s Will Fonseca scored the team’s opening six points, staking the Dolphins to a modest, 5-4, lead in the early stages before an 11-2 Wagner run, catapulted by four Dwaun Anderson and Mike Aaman points, gave Wagner its biggest lead, 15-7, 12:38 to go in the stanza.
CSI returned fire. A Vincent Dacunto three and another running lay-up by the junior cut the lead to five, and after a Seahawk field goal, Edin Bracic added a three to pull CSI to within four. Fonseca followed with a jumper to mark the lead down, and two minutes later, CSI finalized its 15-6 run with another Bracic three to take a 22-21 edge with 9:19 to go.
CSI took its biggest lead on two consecutive possessions, using Khaleeq Baum lay-up and a Thomas Delahanty to run four point leads, the last at 7:54. The Seahawks surged forward again, using a 7-0 run to take another lead, 36-31, with 2:56 to go. Michael Carey sunk a pair of free-throws, part of 10 in a row for the home squad, who finished 15-17 from the stripe in a busy first half. Wagner surged ahead for as much as a six-point lead on another pair of Aaman freebies before settling for a 40-36 halftime edge.
The back-and-forth play continued in the opening stages of the second half. A Romone Saunders three got Wagner started and advanced the lead to seven, before Bracic responded with four straight markers to cut into the lead. Aaman extended the lead to five again, 45-40, with another pair from the stripe and then CSI scored a big, 6-0 run, sparked by a pair of Delahanty field goals to take a 46-45 lead.
From there, however, the host squad rose up for a decisive run. The Seahawks made a conscious effort to pound the ball inside, and went on a numbing 15-2 run spanning the next five minutes to take its largest lead, 60-48, with 9:43 to go. Corey Henson and Michael Carey each scored on a pair of inside drives and Anderson finished the run with a three point play.
CSI scratched back with a pair of Fonseca baskets, but a Henson three with the shot clock winding down would give the Seahawks a 65-52 edge, its biggest of the game, with 7:48 to go. An error-prone CSI would commit three turnovers on its next four possessions and Wagner took advantage, ballooning the lead to 17 on another inside drive by Henson, 69-52. A basket by Fonseca with 3:52 left broke up an almost five-minute stretch without a field goal for CSI, but by then Wagner was in complete control, nursing a 71-55 lead.
Inside of three minutes to play many of the game’s reserves had entered, and the Seahawks nestled to an 83-59 win, outscoring the Dolphins 38-13 in the final 14:30 of the contest.
“I think the story of the game is that in the last 10-12 minutes many of their possessions led to baskets,” said Head Coach Tony Petosa, “We turned the ball over, made a couple of bad decisions and they got a lot of offensive rebounds, were able to get to the line and it took its toll on us.”
The Dolphins were also shorthanded, playing without the services of the preseason All-American point guard. According to Petosa, the absence certainly was felt.
“It changes what we can do without a doubt,” said Petosa. “Forgetting what he brings to the floor he plays 35 a game and I thought some of our guys got an opportunity in his absence, but I’m obviously very concerned.”
CSI was led by Fonseca’s 17 points. Edin Bracic bagged a pair of three’s to finish with 12 points, while Delahanty finished 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Wagner’s Michael Carey finished with 12 points and Saunders finished with 11. Both tallied a team-high eight rebounds as well. Wagner was a solid, 24-29, from the free throw line (83%) while the Dolphins connected on just 13 of 20 charity stripe shots (65%). Wagner was also a 8 in turnovers and their 21 rebounding edge led to 19 more shots taken.
Despite the final score, however, Petosa sees the importance of the Staten Island basketball affair with Wagner.
“To be very honest, it’s probably our least important game of the season,” the coach noted. “But this is great for the community and it puts an emphasis on our guys to not get lazy. When you play a team like this you can never take a possession off. There is a potential to learn from games like this.”
CSI will next be back in action on Tuesday, travelling to Baruch College to take on the CUNYAC-Champion Bearcats in Manhattan at 7:30pm. The Dolphins are 1-0 in CUNYAC play this season.