POSTGAME INTERVIEWS – On a night when the Dolphins never could find their offensive groove, the College of Staten Island dropped a lop-sided, 86-61, decision at the hands of Swarthmore College in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament in Swarthmore, PA.  For Swarthmore, the 22-5 squad will take on Christopher Newport tomorrow evening, while the Dolphins finalized their season at 21-7.

From the opening whistle, the Dolphins seem stymied by indecision on the offensive side and the inability to penetrate inside.  Swarthmore, in front of a raucous home crowd, took full advantage, racing to a 12-2 advantage thanks to four Zack Yonda points after the first four minutes.  That prompted a CSI timeout, but after a CSI bucket by Kevon Murphy, the Garnet answered back with a transition layup and a three-point play by Robbie Walsh to score a 17-4 lead.

That proved to be the edge that the Garnet needed to keep CSI at bay the rest of the way.  A three-pointer by SC’s Sam Lebryk gave the home team its biggest lead at 23-7 with 11:51 to go in the frame.  CSI answered back with jumpers from Frank Schettino and Edin Bracic, but the Dolphins never could get over the major hump with a big run.  Instead the two teams pawed back and forth, with the Garnet going back up by as many as 13 on three occasions, before CSI was able to use a Bracic lay-up and then three free-throws to close the half to close to 39-30 at the break.

CSI seemed to put together a little momentum in time for the second half, but the Garnet opened up the second frame by pounding the ball inside again, abandoning their patented three-point shot in favor of working the paint.  It proved successful for SC, as they used Robbie Walsh and Yonda baskets to extends to 49-34 three minutes in.  

Despite multiple attempts by the Dolphins to claw back, especially with Schettino repeatedly driving into the paint for interior points, CSI just could not consistently find the twine, and while they fell cold, SC used a 13-2 run over three minutes to make it a 65-40 game with 9 minutes left.  From there, CSI was desperate and resorted to a long of long range shooting, continuing to stay cold in stretches while SC just cushioned the lead.

The Garnet went up by as many as 28 points late before a three in the final moments settled SC into the final 86-61, win.

Swarthmore shot 44.6% for the game, including a 37.5% clip from downtown.  The balanced attack was led by Walsh’s 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Lebryk added 16 and Cam Wiley 15.  CSI shot just 33% for the match with Schettino leading the way with 20 points and four rebounds.  Khaleeq Baum finalized with 10.  The Garnet, the NCAA’s best rebounding team in differential, enjoyed a huge, 52-35 edge on the boards, while CSI was a +4 in the turnover column.

For CSI they fell to 5-15 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, as they made their 12th trip all-time.  They capped the season with their 14th CUNYAC title and their fifth 20+ win season in the last six years.