The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team got off to a sizable lead and then held off a feverish second half comeback by Ursinus College, scoring an 85-77 win over the Bears in a neutral site contest at the Rinso Marquette Tournament held at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania, this evening. The win was the Dolphins’ first under Head Coach T.J. Tibbs, improving the team to 1-1 to open the season, while Ursinus fell to 0-1.
“I am just happy for our players and the staff,” said Tibbs on win No. 1. “For a lot of our players and Coaches (Orin) McKay and (J.C.) Albano, this was their first win, and it was great to share in that first collegiate victory.”
Unlike their opener against Yeshiva, where they only held a lead for under a minute, the Dolphins led nearly the entire way tonight, racing out to an early 7-2 lead on a pair of Adeola Latunji lay-ups and a Darryl Bryant three. Later, Bryant and sophomore transfer Krystian Kopec added a pair of baskets each in a 9-0 run that gave CSI a more comfortable 32-18 advantage with six minutes remaining in the half. CSI would match the lead three more times, going up 43-29 at intermission, shooting at 50% from the floor (17-34) while holding Ursinus to a chilly 33% (11-33).
The teams kept pace in the opening minutes of the second stanza. The Dolphins never led by as many as 14, while the Bears could not cut the lead to single digits until inside of 10 minutes remaining. A resilient Bears squad hung around long enough to seize advantage when CSI suffered a 1-6 stretch from the floor with a pair of turnovers, helping them score a 12-2 run, aided by an Eric Williams three to cut the lead to 58-57 with seven minutes to play. After back-and-forth baskets, the Bears were finally able to wrestle the lead with 4:54 to play on a Shane Stark interior drive, giving the Bears a 65-64 advantage. In perhaps the biggest shot of the evening, however, Kopec hit a long-range three to put CSI back up, 67-65, seconds later, and the Dolphins never trailed again.
In a last gasp, Ursinus cut the lead to one again, 71-70, at 3:12 on a three-point play by Remi Janicot, but another Kopec three after a CSI freebie helped ignite a 9-0 run for CSI, aided by a three-point play from Christian Taylor to essentially ice the game at 80-70.
“The team played for one-another,” commented Tibbs. “Ursinus is a tremendous team and program and we knew they were going to come back.”
CSI was led by Latunji’s 25 points and eight rebounds, while Bryant added a career-high 16 points with six rebounds. Ursinus countered with Ryan McTamney’s 13 points while Zach Quattro added 12 markers with a game-high 11 rebounds. CSI was out-rebounded, 50-37, but the Dolphins were a 6 in the turnover column, committing 10 turnovers to the Bears’ 16.
CSI will play in the tournament championship game tomorrow at 3pm against either host Lebanon Valley or the College of New Rochelle.