The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team is coming off of a big pair of CUNYAC wins last week and for the third straight time will look to go on the road to get another, this time traveling to Hunter College to take on the Hawks in a showdown featuring two teams at the top of the men’s basketball standings.  Both teams are 5-1 and a win will put them in a tie atop the standings with first-place Lehman College (6-1).

Matchup: College of Staten Island (6-7, 5-1 CUNYAC) vs. Hunter College (8-6, 5-1 CUNYAC)
Where: Hunter Sportsplex – 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY
All-Time Series: CSI leads, 49-24
Last Meeting:  February 4, 2017 – CSI won 85-80
Players to Watch (CSI): A balanced scoring attack is led by Christian Taylor’s 14.8 points per game on a 55.8% shooting clip from the field, near the top of the CUNYAC ledger in that category.  Taylor is also second on the squad with 4.8 rebounds per game.  The rebound leader is Adeola Latunji who averages 5.5 per game and drops in 13.1 per game.  Latunji is coming off of a career-best 25 points against Medgar Evers on Tuesday.  Ray Savage has enjoyed a good stint in the starting lineup, and is coming off of an 11-point, 10-rebound performance against MEC.  Look for him and senior Edin Bracic to be the deep threats for CSI tonight.  Bracic is the active career leader in three-point shooting and his 20 three’s in 48 attempts this season leads the team in both categories.
Players to Watch (HC): Hunter averages 69.6 points per game and 73% of their total scoring is centered on their four top scorers who all average in double figures.  The leader is George Keener, who is shooting over 50% averaging 13.4 per game and has added 19 defensive steals.  Right behind him is Matt Franks, who is tied for the team lead with 12 three-pointers, helping him average 13.1 per game.  he also leads the way with 29 assists.  Amer Lukac averages 12.4 per clip and is a big interior threat by averaging a team-best 8.3 rebounds per contest.  Danny Fusco rounds out the double-digit point scorers with an 11.9 average and he leads the team defensively with 21 steals while also dropping in 12 three’s, tied for the team lead.  All four have started every game this season.
News & Notes: CSI has had a healthy run over Hunter through the past few years, winning 13 of the last 14 meetings.  The lone exception was in January of 2016, when Hunter hit a buzzer-beater to defeat the Dolphins in Staten Island, 82-81.  In fact, Hunter’s last five wins over CSI, dating back to 1999 have all come at Staten Island.  When the two teams have met at Hunter, where they will be tonight, CSI has won the last 11 meetings dating back to 1998.  Hunter’s last victory on their home ground over the Dolphins was an 83-62 win n February 24, 1998.  The Dolphins have also been exceptional against the CUNYAC on the road in recent memory.  CSI is 4-0 against the CUNYAC on the road this season and have not lost a road conference game since February 16, 2016, a span of 12 games.  CSI is 20-9 all-time on the road against Hunter.  The Hawks are 5-3 at home this season and were on a three game home winning streak before falling to Lehman College on Tuesday, 72-67.  Both Hunter and CSI have lost to Lehman, while both share wins over John Jay, Medgar Evers, York, and CCNY, otherwise they share no common opponents.  CSI’s other conference win came against Baruch, while Hunter toppled Brooklyn.  With both teams sitting at 5-1, whoever wins will be 6-1 and tied with Lehman College for first place after the first half of the CUNYAC season completed.  The losing side will have sole possession of third place.  The top six teams in the CUNYAC make the postseason playoffs, with the top two teams earning quarterfinal rounds, so today’s matchup could go a long way in determining future playoff positioning.