The College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad was able to come-from-behind in dramatic fashion yesterday, but simply could not turn the trick again this afternoon, falling to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the Championship leg of WPI’s tournament in Worcester, MA, 66-62.  The win lifted the Engineers to a perfect, 4-0, on the season, while the Dolphins fell to 2-1.

Down most of the way, the Dolphins did chip away enough to force a tie with four minutes to play in regulation, but a chilly touch from the floor, coupled with some important home team buckets spelled doom for the Dolphins, who the night before came from 29 points down to come back and defeat Colby College.

?The home Engineers didn’t waste time to get out in front.  After a couple of quick CSI advantages, WPI rattled off a 14-5 run, with all but two of the points coming from Clyde Niba, who would go on to score 24 of WPI’s 38 first half points on 9-9 shooting from the floor.  From there, WPI cruised and expanded its lead to as many as 13, 36-23, with 3:44 to go on a Sean Doncaster jumper.  CSI did, however, close on a modest 8-2 run, with six of those points coming from Frank Schettino, who scored a CSI-record 43 points last night over the Mules.

Down 38-31 at the half, CSI needed a second half surge, and they started the half by ultimately trading baskets until making their move?eight minutes into the half.  Wesley Smith rattled in a three and then a freebie and a jumper by Schettino put CSI to within one, 46-45.  In a recurring theme of the evening, however, WPI responded well, and Aaron Todd powered in for two straight lay-ups to give the Engineers cushion again.

For the next five minutes WPI would not lead by more than four and no less than one, until finally, CSI made a decisive move.  Down four, Schettino nailed a deep three and then Will Fonseca banked in one of two free-throws to force a 56-56 tie with 3:59 to go.  CSI forced a defensive stop, but Fonseca missed a short jumper in the lane and Niba followed with a big three-pointer for WPI to restore the lead back to three, and WPI never relinquished the lead again.

?The Dolphins would miss their next three shots and turn the ball over twice inside of three minutes left, and WPI took advantage, ballooning the lead up to seven, 65-58.  With seven seconds left, Schettino made things interesting with a four-point play to make it 65-62, and after a foul, Doncaster missed the first free throw, but then made the second to ice the game with four seconds to go, rendering Schettino’s desperation heave at the end of the game fruitless.

Niba would finish with a career-high 32 points for WPI to lead the way adding 6-8 shooting from three-point range.  Doncaster finalized with 16?, while Ian Converse scored a team-high eight rebounds.  Schettino led all CSI players with 29 points while Fonseca scored 10 with eight rebounds.  Thomas Delahanty led the Dolphins with 9 rebounds.  CSI shot 43.1% for the game while WPI finished at 45.8%.  CSI was just 13-23 from the line (57%) while the Engineers were 15-18 (83%). 

CSI will now be idle until Tuesday, November 24, when they travel to face Hunter College in their CUNYAC-opener at 7:30pm in Manhattan.?