Staten Island, NY | The College of Staten Island saw an early lead vanish and a second-half comeback fall short, as they were turned away by visiting Montclair State University, 84-70, in front of a spirited crowd on basketball’s opening night.  The Dolphins fell to 0-1 to begin the 2018-19 season, while the Red Hawks lifted to 1-0.

Despite the final score, it was CSI that actually had the better of play in the early minutes.  A cold start by the Red Hawks allowed CSI to take an early edge of buckets by Adeola Latunji and Christian Taylor, and at 10:51, Taylor would hit another jumper from the baseline to make it 13-10.  CSI asked for a timeout to try and seize momentum, but it would backfire, as MSU raced out to a 7-0 run, capped by an Akbar Hoffman put-back lay-up, to give MSU the lead that it would not relinquish.  

Later, foul trouble plagued CSI and MSU was able to get to the line for 20 first-half free-throws, next to just two for the Dolphins.  Irving Callendar IV buring a three-pointer with 4:34 remaining in the stanza to give MSU a bigger, 33-21 cushion, and MSU would score the final five points in the frame, three coming at the line to ultimately take a 15-point lead at intermission, 47-32.

CSI needed a rally to start things off in order to get back in the game, and that’s exactly what they dialed up to intro the second half.  Rigaud Destime started with a running lay-up and then Taylor hit back-to-back jumpers to trim MSU’s lead to just single digits, 47-38, with 16:51 to go.  After another pair of jumpers back and forth, it was Hoffman that got MSU started again.  A three by Hoffman made it 52-40, and after Eddie Emedoh hit a pair of jumpers, Hoffman again nailed two contested shots to make it 59-42.

MSU would take their biggest lead at 11:24, using a pair of Joseph Radi free ones to make it 63-43.  An 8-1 run by CSI followed, but a tired CSI unit couldn’t ward off the Red Hawks fast break and the Red Hawks would ultimately coast in the final minutes to the 84-70 final.

Both teams shot similarly, with CSI connecting on 43.9% (29-66) compared to MSU’s 44.1% (26-59), however, MSU had the better of it at the free-throw line, connecting on 26-of-37 for 70% compared to CSI’s 9-20 (45%)

Christian Taylor led all scorers with 30 points, going 13-for-24 from the floor.  Latunji added a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.  Destime posted a team-high six assists in the loss.  MSU had five players in double figures, led by Myles Mitchell-White’s 19 points on 10-13 from the line.  Hoffman and Emedoh each had 16 points with Emedoh also posting 12 rebounds.  MSU won the overall rebounding battle by a large margin, 49-33.

The Dolphins will look to right the ship next week.  They will travel to face Misericordia College on Wednesday, November 14, at 8:00 pm in Dallas, Pennsylvania.