For the second consecutive game the College of Staten Island men’s basketball squad let a second-half double-digit lead evaporate, ultimately falling to City College of New York at the Sports & Recreation Center, 81-76, as part of CUNYAC play this evening.  CSI fell to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in CUNYAC Play, while the Beavers lifted to 8-5, 3-3, respectively.

After weathering an early CCNY run, CSI led for most of the way, building as big as a 17-point lead before a huge comeback by the Beavers saw the visitors take the lead in the final minutes and hold on for the win.  It was the second straight loss for the Dolphins to open the 2016 year.

The Beavers took a 5-0 lead to start the game as CSI did not score until a Thomas Delahanty jumper three minutes in.  That prompted a 9-2 CSI run, and the run continued until CSI secured an 18-11 edge on a Will Fonseca layup at 10:58.  After CCNY narrowed the lead to three, CSI responded with another 11-2 run, powered by a Vincent Dacunto three and another pair of Fonseca drives.  That lifted CSI’s lead up to 12 points, and after trading baskets in the final four minutes, CSI eventually nursed a 13-point edge, 41-28, at the break.

It looked like more of the same in the second half after a Khari Rollock and Delahanty basket gave CSI its biggest lead at 46-29, a minute and a half into the game, but the Beavers would not go down quietly and slow but sure began to chip away.  Four minutes later, a David Solano three swindled the CSI lead down to eight after a 9-0 Beavers run.  CSI fought back, going back up again, 55-42 on a three by Edin Bracic.  Then, CCNY did damage from the free-throw line, hitting six straight to power an 8-0 response, making it 55-50 with 10 minutes to play in what was a foul-heavy second stanza.

The pendulum swung again, giving CSI a 10-point edge, the last with over eight minutes to play.  From there, however, the game took a sharp right turn, as CCNY out-scored the Dolphins 29-14 the rest of the way.  Mark Richards capped an immediate 8-0 run to make it a two point game, and later, another Solano three knotted the score at 69-69 with just 4:15 to go.  The teams traded baskets twice from there, but with 2:20 to go, another Solano three gave CCNY a 76-73 edge it would not relinquish.

After splitting free-throws, CSI had a chance to tie, but a Frank Schettino three with just over a minute to go misfired, and CCNY sank two freebies the other way to make it 79-74.  CSI responded with two free-throws the other way for Fonseca, and after holding CCNY defensively, CSI had the ball down by three with 14 seconds to play.  Unfortunately for CSI, Schettino lost control of a loose ball and CCNY capitalized, picking up the turnover and then netting a pair of free-throws to ice the game.

CCNY notched a 44.8% shooting percentage in the game and hit 8-of-12 three-pointers, led by Solano’s six.  CSI shot 41.8%, but only 30.3% in the games pivotal second half.  Fonseca led all scorers with 26 points, adding 10 rebounds, while Delahanty and Schettino finished with 10 apiece.  A balanced CCNY was led by Solano and Khalil Hamer’s 20 points, while Richards added 16.  Robert Dionisio added a game high 11 rebounds.

The win was the first in the series for CCNY since 2007, breaking a string of 10 straight CSI wins.  It was also CCNY’s second win ever at CSI, and their first since 1996.

?CSI will return to action on Thursday when they travel to face FDU-Florham at 7pm in Madison, NJ, for a non-conference affair at 7pm.