CSI Head Coach T.J. Tibbs saw his debut spoiled tonight, as the College of Staten Island men’s basketball unit was downed on the road against Yeshiva University in what was the season opener for both teams, 86-75 at the Max Stern Arena in Manhattan. The Maccabees (1-0) led nearly wire-to-wire, using a mid second-half run to open up a double-digit lead, never looking back. It was their first-ever win over CSI in the series history, dating back to 1982 (1-4).
A poor shooting night doomed the Dolphins, who were without starters Edin Bracic and Robert Rossiter due to injury. The results were a 37.2% chill from the field, a mark that included a 2-15 performance from beyond the arc, 0-8 in the second half.
The Macs pulled ahead early 10-0, using two Simcha Halpert buckets, the second a three-pointer, to grab the big lead. The Dolphins were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Chipping away, the Dolphins dropped the lead to as few as a single bucket on four occasions, but each time YU would have a response, using a quick transition game and the long-ball to consistently frustrate the Dolphins. CSI would get the lead finally down to a single point on two Stephen Flagg free-throws which followed a Krystian Kopec lay-up. Still, the Macs took a 39-34 lead entering intermission, using another Halpert bucket and a three from Bar Alluf to score the advantage.
CSI would knock the lead down again to a single digit a pair of times in the opening stages of the second half, but it wasn’t until jumpers by Christian Taylor and freshman Rudy Lavanture prompted an 6-0 run for CSI that gave them their one and only lead at 50-48 with 14:17 to play.
The Dolphins could not keep momentum, however, and a cold spell followed that saw CSI go 0-6 over the next five minutes resulting in an 11-3 YU run. CSI showed signs of life when freshman Adeola Latunji blasted in a dunk that cut the lead to 59-55, but in what was a recurring theme through the night, the Macs executed an 8-0 run, fueled by a three-point play by Michael Hayon and a three-ball from Halpert to make it a 67-55 game.
After started 10-19 from the free-throw line, YU connected on 11-12 with under four minutes remaining to ice the game. The Dolphins meanwhile stayed mired in cold shooting, finishing the game 37.2% from the floor (29-48), 2-15 (13.3%) from the three-point line and just 53.8% from the charity stripe (15-28).
CSI was led by Latunji’s 17 points, while Taylor finished with career highs of 12 points and 17 rebounds in the losing cause. The Dolphins were a +6 in the turnover column, committing just eight in the game, but shot just 15-28 from the free-throw line (54%). Getting off far less shots, the Macs shot a balmy 51.8% (29-56) and canned seven three’s on 18 attempts (38.9%).
Halpert finished with 24 points and five rebounds, followed closely by Alluf’s 21 markers.
The Dolphins will next face Ursinus College as part of the Lebanon Valley Tournament on Friday.