CSI Pulls Away From CCNY Late to Win 2016-17 CUNYAC/Army ROTC Title - Feb 27, 2017
CSI Dolphins 77, CCNY Beavers 66
The atmosphere was electric inside Nat Holman Gymnasium at the City College of New York as the stage was set for the CUNYAC Men's Basketball finals between the CCNY Beavers and the CSI Dolphins. The Dolphins wore down a resilient CCNY squad and pulled away late to win the CUNYAC title by the score of 77-66. CSI dominated in the paint all game long, out-rebounding the Beavers 46-34 thanks in large part to the incredible effort of Khaleeq Baum (6'4''-F).
Baum put up a double-double for the Dolphins, leading all scorers with a game high 21 points to go with his 11 rebounds on his way to being named Army ROTC Tournament MVP. CSI also received significant contributions from Kevon Murphy (6'5''-F) (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Frankie Schettino (5'11''-PG) (11 points, 6 assists). CCNY was led by Mark Richards (6'4''-F) with 16 points and 7 rebounds while Khalil Hamer (6'2''-G) contributed 16 points to go with his 6 assists.
'Coach just told us at halftime to play our game,' said the MVP Baum on his team's first half struggles. 'I was thinking too fast and Coach just told me to calm down, play my game, and attack the basket and the game would come to me.'
Coming off of an emotional comeback win in the semifinals, the Beavers were looking to carry some of that magic with them into the championship game in hopes of taking down the regular season champion Dolphins. CCNY knocked down a couple of early threes, but solid work on the offensive boards by CSI allowed for second chance points that helped the Dolphins to keep pace. With 7:57 left in the first half it was anyone's game with the score sitting at 23-19 in favor of CCNY.
This back and forth affair continued as we neared halftime still waiting on one of these teams to pull away from the other. Both teams were shooting the ball exceptionally well and it seemed more and more as though this game would fall to the first team that could step up on defense. Headed to the half CCNY held a 35-33 lead in a championship game that was far from over.
Mark Richards led the scoring for the Beavers in the first half with 9 points while pulling down 4 rebounds while Khalil Hamer contributed 8 points for CCNY. CSI was led by Robert Rossiter (6'3''-G/F) who scored 9 points in the first half and Khaleeq Baum who scored 8 points while snatching 4 first half rebounds.
With 20 minutes to play, the CUNYAC title was still very much up for grabs. CCNY was playing poised on their home floor and giving the regular season champs all that they could handle, but the Dolphins weren't going away anytime soon. Every time the Beavers scored their was an immediate answer from CSI. The two title contenders continued to trade haymakers, neither willing to give in. With 13:31 to play, the score was all tied up at 44-44.
CCNY had been lights out from beyond the arc all game long, but for the next three minutes they went cold, struggling to get anything to fall let alone a three. This was the opportunity for a run that hadn't presented itself all game and the Dolphins took advantage, going on an 11-0 run led by Kevon Murphy and jumping ahead 55-44 with 9:56 to play.
The Beavers would need to overcome yet another double-digit deficit in the second half if they wanted to win their first title since 2003, but with the championship within reach, the Dolphins didn't flinch. Khaleeq Baum had been a force in the paint all night, and after two straight strong finishes at the rim he had extended CSI's lead to 14 with just 7:07 to play. The Beavers hung tough for a little while longer, but a three by Frankie Schettino with 4:03 to play was a dagger that CCNY simply couldn't recover from.
On this night there would be no comeback for the Beavers. Their magic had run out, and the regular season champs took what was rightfully theirs. CSI would hold off the Beavers and take home their first championship since winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 by the score of 77-66.
With the win the CSI Dolphins advance to the DIII NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2013. When asked about his team's chance to play in the tournament, CSI Head Coach Tony Petosa simply said, 'Practice on Monday. Monday we start all over again.'
Kevon Murphy and Frankie Schettino were named to the All-Tournament team for the Dolphins along with David Solano (6'2''-G) (CCNY), Khalil Hamer (CCNY), Chimaechi Ekekeugbor (6'5''-F) (Baruch), and Luis Hernandez (6'1''-G) (Lehman). A replay of the championship game can be seen on WatchESPN.com.
Courtesy of CUNY Athletics
CUNY Tournament Final: Staten Island - CCNY 77-66
CUNY Tournament Semifinals:
Staten Island - Baruch 71-54
CCNY - Lehman 73-71