In a game that featured 22 lead changes and 14 ties it was the College of Staten Island men’s basketball team that got the better of York College in overtime tonight as part of CUNYAC play at the York College Gymnasium in Jamaica, NY, 78-75.  The win catapulted the Dolphins to 3-4 overall and a perfect 2-0 in the conference, while the Cardinals fell to 1-5, 0-2, respectively.

Late free-throws and critical stops beyond the arc in the closing seconds spearheaded the win, but not before a frantic finish in regulation that featured a pair of startling runs by both teams in a frenzied second half. 

Down 38-35, a 17-0 run by the home Cardinals, pioneered by nine Jean Joseph points, gave YC a 52-38 edge with 12:30 to go in regulation.  But CSI battled back, and used a 15-0 response, highlighted by back-to-back-to-back three’s by Robert Rossiter, Edin Bracic and Rudy Lavanture, to take back the lead, setting the stage for dramatics in the final minutes.

After CSI grabbed the lead, York slugged back with an 8-0 response to secure a 60-53 edge, prompting a CSI timeout with under six minutes to play.  Ramping up their defense, CSI forced York into five straight misses from the floor, but could not overcome the deficit in full, falling behind 63-60 with under a minute to play.  

Christian Taylor would power inside for a layup to cut the lead to one.  From there, YC’s Joseph missed a three with the shot clock winding down and on the ensuing rebound, CSI’s Rossiter was fouled with 24 ticks to play.  Rossiter sank both to give CSI the 64-63 edge.  Down to perhaps their final gasp, YC’s Edwin Sainvil missed a three and CSI secured the rebound with eight seconds to play.  The Dolphins, however, would turn the ball over with four ticks to play, and a Bracic foul on Joseph, put him at the line for two shots with the game on the line.   To that point, Joseph was a perfect 5-for-5 from the line, but CSI caught a break, as he would miss the first attempt.  Joseph made good on the second to tie the score, forcing overtime when CSI’s Raymond Savage missed a desperation three at the buzzer.

York promptly fired off the first four points of the extra period, forcing CSI to once again come from behind.  After a Savage free-throw, Stephen Flagg would convert on a layup after a YC miss.  After a YC split of free-throws on their turn, CSI got even on a Jade Spencer layup at 3:16 to tie the score again at 69-69.

The teams then traded baskets and then at 1:45, Sainvil drove the lane and converted a lay-in that gave YC a 73-71 advantage.  Unfortunately for the home team, it would be their final lead.  On the ensuing possession, Flagg would bank a free-throw after a Jones foul.  With under a minute to play, Sainvil misfired on a layup underneath and when Flagg was fouled again the other way, he would hit on both his throws this time to give CSI the 74-73 edge with 38 seconds to play, their first lead of overtime.

Following a YC timeout, the Cardinals missed a three-pointer, and forced to foul, Savage punched in another free-throw pair with 14 seconds left.  Again, down to seemingly their last gasp, Darin Dove spotted up from three, but was fouled in the act by Bracic, sending him to the line for three-attempts and a chance to tie.  Dove gave CSI a break again when he missed the first, but he he made the final two to cut the lead to one with just four seconds to play.  York fouled, and again Savage drained a free pair.  Out of timeouts and with only three seconds to spare, Dove’s three-pointer at the buzzer was off, giving CSI the win after a long exhale.

CSI was led by Taylor’s 15 points, while Rossiter added 14 before fouling out late in the second half.  Jade Spencer notched eight points and a team-best five rebounds in 24 minutes off of the bench.  YC’s Sainvil and Joseph led all with 22 points apiece, with Joseph adding six rebounds and six steals.  York owned a heavy 40-29 edge in rebounds while CSI was a plus-four in the turnover column 24-28.  CSI got good production from their bench, out-scoring York in that department, 25-13.

For CSI, it was their second-straight win after opening 1-4.  It marked their fifth-straight win over York, and the 13th victory in their last 14 matchups against their CUNYAC rival.  For York, it was their second consecutive three-point loss, as they fell to Baruch College in their CUNYAC opener this past weekend, 77-74.

CSI will next be in action on Saturday, when they host visiting City College of New York at 3pm at the Sports & Recreation Center in what will be a rematch of last year’s CUNYAC Championship.