The College of Staten Island men’s basketball team is still aiming for what could be a CUNYAC Regular Season Championship, and step one is a must-win on the road against top-seeded Lehman College this afternoon at 2pm in the Bronx. The Dolphins will at least guarantee the No. 2 position with a win, meanwhile, Lehman can clinch the regular season crown with a win in either of its last two games, including this afternoon.
CSI vs. LEHMAN COLLEGE
Matchup: College of Staten Island (14-10, 12-3 CUNYAC) vs. Lehman College (19-4, 13-1 CUNYAC)
Where: The Apex – 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY
All-Time Series: CSI leads 51-14
Last Meeting: January 3, 2018 – Lehman on 85-79 (ot)
Players to Watch (CSI): It was raining three’s in Brooklyn a few days ago and Raymond Savage buried six and Stephen Flagg five, both career highs, as they finished with 20 points apiece in CSI’s win over Brooklyn. They will join leading scorers Christian Taylor, who is averaging 16.2 points per game to go with 5.3 rebounds and Adeola Latunji, who is averaging 15.4 per game along with a team best 6.1 rebounds per game, to lead the team offensively. Senior Edin Bracic continues to lead the team from beyond the arc with 48 three-point baskets, improving his average to 38% this season. Robert Rossiter will also figure into the mix, averaging 9.1 points per game with 5.3 rebounds per game.
Players to Watch (LC): Lehman has been flying high all season, and they are being led by the stellar play of Luis Hernandez, who is averaging 18.7 points in just under 29 minutes per game, also leading the team with 138 total rebounds, good for six per game. Right behind him is Andrew Utate, who is pouring 16.8 per game over 22 starts, tied for the team lead with six rebounds per game. Watch for the backcourt touch of Mylo Mitchell, as he leads the squad with 59 three-pointers at a 47% stroke. He averages 14.2 points per game while Jean Marcial is dumping in 11.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per.
News & Notes: CSI has had a commanding edge in the series, but lately this has been a well-contested series with the teams having split the last eight meetings since 2014. CSI is 20-8 all-time in games played at Lehman and were able to win in the Bronx last year rather convincingly, 84-71. Something has to give today, as Lehman has been red-hot on their home court this year, boasting an 11-1 overall record at The Apex, a mark that includes a perfect 7-0 record against the CUNYAC. The Dolphins, however, have been just as good on the road, sporting a perfect 7-0 record away from home against the CUNYAC and a solid 8-4 record away from home. CSI has not lost a road CUNYAC game since February 16, 2016, ironically against Lehman, raising their road winning streak to 15 games over the CUNYAC. In their last meeting these two teams took it to overtime, when Lehman prevailed, 85-79. CSI led by as many as 16 in the game, but a Hernandez lay-up as time expired sent the game into an extra frame. Hernandez finished with 24 and Utate had 22 in the win while Taylor had 22 points and Latunji popped in 15 points and 18 rebounds (11 offensive) in the loss. CSI out-rebounded Lehman, 49-39, but the Dolphins committed 18 turnovers to Lehman’s nine. CSI has won their last six games when shooting over 35% from beyond the arc, so look for that to play a factor. CSI opponents are 8-3 when they shoot 70% or better from the line. Holding Lehman back from being effective at the three is crucial. The Lightning are 13-0 when they shoot 36% or better from beyond the arc, they are a more pedestrian 6-4 when they fail to hit 36%. CSI can win the CUNYAC Regular Season Championship with a win today and a Lehman loss to Hunter College on February 13. A win for CSI today will guarantee them at least the No. 2 seed in upcoming CUNYAC Tournament. If Lehman wins today, they have won the CUNYAC Regular Season title. CSI can still place second in the conference with a loss, so long as Baruch College drops one of their final two games (against Medgar Evers and John Jay). If CSI loses this afternoon and Baruch wins its last two games the CSI would finish No. 3 in the conference standings.