Staten Island, NY | In a game that featured seven ties and nine lead changes it was visiting John Jay College that got the better of play after 40 minutes, turning back the College of Staten Island men’s basketball side by an 83-76, count at The Tank is what was Pride Night at CSI and the Dolphins’ home conference opener. CSI fell to 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the CUNYAC, while Bloodhounds improved to 5-1, 2-0, respectively.
The opening 10 minutes of the contest proved that the game would be a back-an-forth affair, and perhaps the team that made the final run would have the upper hand, and that’s exactly how it would turn out. CSI had a modest opening lead, but JJC’s Romello Ford and Essien Epps got the Bloodhounds a four-point advantage in the opening minutes before CSI punched back with a Chamald Martin put-back to stake CSI to a 15-12 lead at the 13:08 mark. Another Martin tap made in 20-17 a little later, and that’s when JJC made the first of two major moves to make their presence felt.
At 9:09 of the first half, Ford connected on a fast break lay-up, starting what would be a 17-2 run over the next four minutes. Doug Levy canned two buckets in the run, while Santiago Collado popped in a three and Epps added a three-point play in the run. Adeola Latunji was able to stop the bleeding for CSI with a drive and a free-throw, igniting a 10-1 run for the Dolphins, finished off with three-straight Christian Taylor makes in the paint. The Dolphins used it to crawl back to within 40-37 at halftime.
A James Delahanty drive on the inside got CSI back even a couple of minutes into the second half, but two Ford baskets put JJC back up by six, 52-46, for a response. At 12:01, CSI again tied on a Taylor bucket, but in what would become a trend in the second half, JJC leaned on the interior play of Levy, who was sensational and put JJC back up by two in that spot and then again later when the score was tied.
CSI was able to race out to an 11-4 run in the stanza to ultimately take a 65-60 edge with just 6:49 left to go, but from there, foul trouble for the Dolphins, cold shooting, and the stellar play of Levy began to take form. The Bloodhounds answered with a numbing 16-5 run over the next five-plus minutes, highlighted by 11 points from Levy, who was perfect in the field and also drew a foul in the rip. The Dolphins could not recover, ultimately falling by seven, 83-76.
JJC finished the game shooting 45.9% (28-61) but were sharp from three-point range (7-18) while connecting on 20-of-28 free-throw attempts. CSI shot just 7-12 from the line (58.3%), hitting on 42.5% from the floor (31-73)
CSI’s Taylor led all scorers with 32 points, connecting on 14-of-24 shots. Latunji was the only other Dolphin in double-figures with 14 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Levy completed a 13-of-16 night in the field with 31 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Ford added 19 in victory, while Kyle LaGuardia added 10 rebounds.
CSI will now look to get right on Friday, when they travel to face Medgar Evers College at 8pm in another conference test before the holiday break.