DOLPHINS SURVIVE CCNY TO REMAIN UNBEATEN IN CUNYAC

The College of Staten  Island men’s basketball team won for the seventh consecutive time this evening, coming from behind to notch a 78-74 victory over City College of New York at the Nat Holman Gymnasium.  The win improved CSI to 13-6 overall and an unblemished 10-0 in conference play, while the Beavers fell to 9-7, 7-3, respectively.

Coming off of his second triple-double of the season, CSI senior Frank Schettino once again dazzled the crowd, surging for 43 points, tying his own single-game scoring record, accounting for well over half of CSI’s points, a mark that included a 16-22 statement from the free-throw line.

Still, it was CCNY that was on top most of the way, keeping CSI at bay with strong defense and big shots.  The Dolphins grabbed their first lead at 7-6, but a good three by David Solano quickly gave the Beavers back the lead and from there, CCNY did not relent.  In the first half, CSI would take another lead, 18-15, with over 9 minutes to play in the first half on a three by Schettino before the Beavers responded with a 13-2 run, led by a pair of Salvatore Palazzolo buckets and another Solano three.

The home school would ultimately lead by 10 in the frame, but CSI ended the half on a steady 8-2  run to narrow the gap at 42-38 at intermission.  By then Schettino had 21 points.

Repeatedly CSI tried to chip away at the CCNY lead only to see the Beavers surge again, but CSi found the run it needed with 17 minutes to go.  Down six, 48-42, the Dolphins positioned a 10-2 run that took up almost six minutes, ending with a Schettino lay-up that gave CSI back the lead at 52-50.

CCNY struck back and two baskets by Khalil Hamer put the Beavers ahead 60-57 with eight and a half to play.  In a big change of momentum, both teams misfired on their next two possessions and then CSI ripped off an 8-0 run, highlighted again by a Schettino lay-up and free-throws.  From there, CSI kept the Beavers at arm’s length, and even opened up an 8-point lead, 75-67, with over two minutes to play.

Refusing to go quietly, CCNY was able to convert on Hamer free-throws to inch closer and after a CSI turnover, Robbie Dionisio buried a three to make it a 75-72 game with 1:03 to go.  CSI then turned it over again and after a foule Dionisio converted a single free-throw to make it 75-73.  CCNY forced yet another CSi turnover with 29 ticks to play, and after a foul by Khaleeq Baum, Dionisio went to the line yet again with a chance to tie.

Good fortune followed when Dionisio missed both ends and Schettino grabbed the rebound, was promptly fouled, and hit both ends of his to put CSI back up by four.  In the game’s final 15 seconds both teams converted a single free-throw to ultimately make the final, 78-74, in favor of the Dolphins.

Schettino would also finish with the team lead in rebounds with 9, adding four assists.  Baum was the only other player in double-figures, scoring 12 points and snagging eight rebounds.  Hamer led all scorers for CCNY with 27 points and five assists, while Solano finished with 18 markers.  The Dolphins shot 43% in the game to CCNY’s even 40%.  CSI held a slight 39-38 edge in rebounds while CCNY was a +5 in the turnover column, committing 11 turnovers to CSI’s 16.

The seven-straight wins by CSI is a season-long high for the squad, and CSI will look to keep the streak alive when they one again take to the road next week with a date against second-place Baruch College on Wednesday, January 25, at 7:30pm in Manhattan.

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