The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team begins a new chapter in its history tonight, as first-year Head Coach T.J. Tibbs will make his debut alongside a group chock full of new faces looking to make CSI champions again. The team will start on the road tonight, traveling to Yeshiva University to take on an upstart Maccabees unit that finished 15-10 a year ago and are looking to avenge a loss suffered to the Dolphins last year.
CSI vs YESHIVA UNIVERSITY
Matchup: CSI (0-0) vs. Yeshiva University (0-0)
Where: Max Stern Athletic Center – 245 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY
All-Time Series: CSI leads 4-0
Last Meeting: November 22, 2016 – CSI won 87-61
Players to Watch (CSI): The Dolphins are returning just 35% of its scoring offense from a season ago, so they will lean heavily on just a handful of returning faces to take over the load this year. It starts with senior Edin Bracic, who led the Dolphins in three-point shooting last year and who is returning from preseason injury tonight. Fellow backcourt mate Robert Rossiter impressed during his first-year sophomore season in 2016-17 and will look to develop his minutes and scoring production as well. Christian Taylor and Jade Spencer, both freshmen who provided spot-duty a year ago, should be tasked for major increases in production this season. Look for freshmen Rigaud Destime, Rudy Lavanture, and Adeola Latunji to all make an impact as well.
Players to Watch (YU): Yeshiva will return 11 players from last year’s team. Junior guard Jamie Cappell rejoins the team, having last played for the Macs during his rookie season in 2015-16. Expected to lead the way for is sophomore guard Simcha Halpert, the Skyline Conference Rookie of the Year in the 2016-17 season. He was second on the team in scoring, with an average of 13 points per game. The rookie phenom shot .449 (102-for-227) from the field and .382 (58-for-152) from beyond the arc. Defensively, Halpert forced 24 steals and blocked 12 shots last season.
News & Notes: The Dolphins have enjoyed an abbreviated but fine history against against the Macs, having taken all four meetings all-time. Last year was the first time the teams had met since 1999. The Dolphins won on their home floor, 87-61, their first victory of the season. Tonight marks the third time the teams are meeting on Yeshiva’s floor. Their first meeting was way back in 1982, a lopsided 83-42 CSI win. Sixteen seasons later, the Dolphins and Macs tipped off during the 1998-99 season, with CSI taking a 70-51 win. Now they will meet again 19 years later at Yeshiva to renew the rivalry. In last year’s meeting, Bracic topped all CSI returning players with 11 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of play, while Rossiter put up 10 points and five boards in 26 minutes played. CSI’s calling card in last year’s win was their dominance on the rebounding glass, where they sported a monster 48-26 edge in rebounds, helping them claim a 12-2 edge in second-chance points. Yeshiva’s loss to CSI last year was their largest of the season, and the Macs are actually used to tight games. Last year, they were involved in nine games decided by nine or less points (4-5). CSI was also involved in nine games decided by nine or less and were 8-1 in such games. CSI went 9-5 on the road last year, while Yeshiva was 8-2 at home, finishing with a four-game win streak at home.