Frank Schettino scored almost as many points in the second half as the entire College of Staten Island men’s basketball team did in the first half combined, and the Dolphins were able to overturn a halftime deficit to skate by Baruch College on the road this evening, 87-82.  The Dolphins erupted for 58 points in the second frame, their highest single half point total this year, to run their overall record to 14-6 and CUNYAC mark to a perfect 11-0.  Baruch fell to 14-5, 7-3, respectively, and saw their three-game win streak halted.

In a very defensive first half, the Dolphins just couldn’t seem to find their offensive rhythm.  The teams pawed back-and-forth, as Baruch took an 8-4 lead on a George Smythe, Jr. bucket only to see CSI go on an 11-3 run to take a 15-11 edge, powered by eight-straight Edin Bracic points.

As paly continued and points became a premium, BC took a 29-24 edge with a pair of baskets from Bryler Paige.  CSI managed a tie after a Schettino jumper and a Darryl Bryant three, but Baruch would score the final four points in the half’s final 2:23 to take a 33-29 lead into the locker room.  After the first 20, CSI was held to just 34.3% shooting.

Whatever talks the Dolphins had at half, it paid off.  CSI shot out of the gate in the second stanza, scoring 20 points in the half’s opening six minutes to overturn the deficit into their favor.  Schettino and interior threat Khaleeq Baum scored eight points each in the 20-11 run that saw CSI take a 49-44 lead.

They would never trail again.  After a Kevon Murphy jumper, Schettino added a three-ball to give CSI a more comfortable 55-46 cushion with 11:24 to play.  Baruch tried to parry back, cutting the lead to five twice, but another pair of free-throws and a three by Bracic gave CSI the first double-digit lead in the game, 65-55, with 8:06 to go.

CSI would lead by as many as 12, and Baruch could not cut the lead to fewer than 7 until there was under 90 seconds to play.  A three-point play by Paige cut CSI’s lead to 80-76, but following a pair of timeouts, Baum raced in to score a lay-up to give CSI a six point edge with just 46 seconds to play.  From there, CSI connected on 5-6 from the line to seal the game, taking a huge 3.5 game lead in the standings over Baruch for first place with just five conference games to play.

Schettino, who went 11-11 at the line in the second frame finalized with 33 points and six assists for the win, followed by Baum’s 19 points and seven rebounds and 16 points from Bracic.  Murphy led all Dolphins with 9 rebounds.  Chimaechi Ekekeugbor finished with a team high 11 rebounds and 24 points, while Paige was the leading point-getter with 27.  

The Dolphins shot a blistering 68% in the second half, to finish at 48% for the game while Baruch was also healthy, finishing the contest at 52.9%.  The Dolphins, however, held a 34-29 edge in rebounds and commited just eight turnovers to Baruch’s 12.

The Dolphins have now won eight-straight, and will put their perfect CUNYAC mark on the line on Saturday, when they host York College at 1pm.  The game will be preceded by the 7th Annual Matty White Men’s Basketball Alumni Game,, which tips off at 11:00am.