RED HOT MIDDLEBURY SURGES PAST DOLPHINS, 70-59, TO WIN FIRST TOURNAMENT OF HEROES CHAMPIONSHIP

The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team hosted the 15th Annual Tournament of Heroes at the CSI Sports & Recreation Center.  The Dolphins took part in their seventh straight championship game (9 overall) but were unable to capture a second straight victory.  The Dolphins fell to the Panthers 59-70 to drop to 6-6 overall while Middlebury was able to up their mark to 9-1 overall.
 
Matt St. Amour was named the Tournament MVP for collecting 55 points, seven rebounds and three assists over the course of the tournament.  Joining him on the All-Tournament team is Jack Daly from Middlebury, Kevon Murphy from Staten Island, Alec Bausch from Illinois Wesleyan and Kevin Saylor from Bridgewater.
 
The Dolphins opened up the 15th Annual Tournament of Heroes on a 6-0 run against Middlebury College, who earned their way to the championship game after a 76-74 win over #18 Illinois Wesleyan last night. The Panthers were forced to call a time out to try to stop the surging Dolphins. The timeout seemed to be effective as the Panthers would rip off a 7-2 run which was ignited by a dunk by Nick Tarantino.  Murphy was finding room in the paint against the Panthers and was able to battle to pick up 9 first half points as well as a team high seven rebounds. 
 
Staten Island would answer back with another 6-0 run to take a 13-7 lead over the visiting Panthers.  Frank Schettino would give the Dolphins a seven point lead (24-17) after sinking a pair of back-to-back three point baskets.  Matt St. Amour, the leading scorer for the Panthers last night, would bury both of his free throws to shrink the lead down to just five.  Schettino was able to put the Dolphins back up by seven however that spread would not last long as Jack Daly would convert a layup and a three point to put the Panthers within two.
 
The Panthers would nearly take a one point lead heading into the locker room for half time when St. Amour would steal the ball with just seconds on the clock and drain a long three.  After some discussion by the referee’s the shot was deemed no good and the Dolphins would hold onto their two point lead.
 
CSI held a 26-24 lead at the half and were outshooting Middlebury 34% to 33%.  The Panthers struggled from behind the arc in the first half, shooting just 9% (1-11) however they were able to up that mark to 53% (7-13) in the second half. CSI edged out the Panthers 16-12 in the paint and were able to create seven points off of turnovers.
 
After both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net in the first half, both teams were able to get it going in the second.  Middlebury would explode for 46 points in the second half while the Dolphins would collect just 33. 
 
St. Amour would give the game its first tie when he converted his and-one free throw to knot the game up at 30.  The Panthers would take a brief two point lead before the Dolphins would regain control of the game with a 7-0 run to go up 39-34 with 15 minutes remaining in the game.  Murphy and Khaleeq Baum would score four and three, respectively over that stretch as they were able get inside and convert layups. 
 
Jake Brown would sink a shot from downtown to put the Panthers up one with 12:37 left in the game.  That basket would be the last time the Panthers would surrender the lead as they were able to keep the Dolphins at bay.  The Dolphins would go on a cold stretch while the Panthers looked like they couldn’t miss, scoring 9 straight points to take a 51-42 lead. 
 
Murphy brought the Dolphins back within one point with just 6:20 left in the contest, however the Dolphins would once again catch a cold and go scoreless for two minutes.  Over that two minute stretch the Panthers would score 12 unanswered to virtually put the game out of reach for the Dolphins.  CSI was able to chip away at that lead until they were down just eight but they ran out of time and momentum.
 
The final two minutes of the game would go scoreless despite attempts by both teams.
 
The Middlebury Panthers would win their first Tournament of Heroes ever and will return home on a six game win streak and will likely jump into the Top 25, being just outside (#30), after a win over #18 Illinois Wesleyan.  
 
The Dolphins are runners-up for the seventh time in the history of this tournament.  Staten Island will return to action on January 4, 2017 when they take on top of the table Baruch College 7:30 pm at the CSI Sports & Recreation Center.
 
 
 

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