POSTGAME INTERVIEWGAME FILM – The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team got up early and then survived a late scare, scoring a 60-58 win over visiting John Jay College in what was the CUNYAC opener for both teams at the Sports & Recreation Center.  The Dolphins improved to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the CUNYAC while the Bloodhounds fell to 0-5, 0-1, respectively.

The Dolphins never trailed in the game, starting with a 7-0 run to open things up and then extending to 17-4 just 6:10 into the game.  Senior Khaleeq Baum scored six points in the opening stages, and for the rest of the first half, JJC was forced to chip away.  A lay-up by MiKing Richardson invigorated the visitors and the Bloodhounds started to cut into the lead, narrowing the deficit to 20-16 with 9:39 to go in the opening stanza.

A three-pointer by Edin Bracic got CSI back on top and the Dolphins rolled out another 11 point lead on two separate occasions before two consecutive lay-ups by Essien Epps closed JJC to within 34-27 at the half.  The Dolphins were making the most out of their play on the offensive glass, owning a 13-2 advantage in second-chance points.

Much like the opening half, CSI wasted little time building a comfortable lead in the final stage.  The Dolphins quickly pulled out in front by 14, 43-29, and then matched it on another pair of Baum free-throws at the 11:09 mark to make it 54-40.

That’s when things started to turn on the Dolphins.  Wyatt Harkins added a three and Epps posted another lay-up to spark a 9-0 run that reduced the lead with 6:03 to play.  After CSI pulled back ahead by 9, 58-49, on a Robert Rossiter drive inside, the Bloodhounds pieced together another 9-0 run over the next three minutes, finalized by two three-point plays made by Richardson, the last at 1:36 to tie the score for the first time since the score was 0-0.

The Dolphins asked for time after the tie and then with time winding down on the shot clock, senior Frank Schettino passed on an open look to throw a strike on the inside to Baum, who dropped the shot home for the 60-58 lead at 1:07.  The final minute included plenty of drama.  In a span of 13 seconds the Bloodhounds missed four lay-ups from in-close, three of which were blocked by Rossiter and Kevon Murphy.  With 14 ticks to play, the Bloodhounds fouled Murphy, but the junior missed both ends of his free-throws to keep JJC alive.

Down to a final attempt, a three-pointer by Harkins went long and was punched out of danger by Schettino as the clock expired, giving CSI the narrow win.

Baum led the Dolphins with 18 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass.  Schettino finished with 14 markers and 10 assists for a double-double, adding seven rebounds.  Bracic added 11 points.  Richardson led all scorers for JJC with 24 points on 7-13 shooting, helped along by four rebounds and four steals.  Kiernan Hayes finalized with 10 points and a team-high 12 rebounds.  Neither team shot the ball particularly well, with CSI finishing 39.6% from the floor (21-53) and JJC just 33.9% (21-62).  Both teams were even at 39-39 in the rebound column and both teams committed 14 turnovers.

The win for CSI was the 9th in a row over John Jay, and improved the team to 27-3 all-time at home against the Bloodhounds.  They also improved to 2-0 on their home floor.  CSI will next take to the road for a pair of games.  On Thursday, they make a non-conference visit to Stevens Institute and on Saturday they tip-off at 3pm against York College to continue CUNYAC play.