Men's Basketball Knocks off Staten Island in CUNYAC Quarterfinals

STATEN ISLAND N.Y. - The York College men's basketball team - the defending CUNYAC Champs - kept their hopes of a repeat alive with a thrilling, 70-67, road victory over the College of Staten Island in the CUNYAC quarterfinals on Sunday.

With the win, York moves on to the semifinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m., which will be played at the Nat Holman Gymnasium on the campus of the City College of New York. York will face the winner of the Baruch College/ CCNY quarterfinal game.

Senior Jaron Williams had probably the best game of his four-year career in a big spot, scoring a career-high 29 points to go along with 11 boards, while also making several key buckets down the stretch. Cyril Reid chipped in 13 points, while Carl Franklin Green and Ryan St. John scored nine points apiece. York improved to 14-12 with the win.

Staten Island (17-9) was led by Will Fonseca, who had 20 points and 10 boards, while Frank Schettino recorded 17 points and eight assists, but also committed nine turnovers. Staten Island will now have to hope for a bid to the ECAC tournament next week.

History repeated itself in this game today. In the last two seasons, York lost both regular season meetings against Staten Island but defeated the Dolphins in the playoff meeting. Last year, the Cardinals defeated CSI, 87-84, in the Championship game.

Early on, the Dolphins looked like they would run away with this one like they had in those two regular season contests, jumping out to a 10-2 lead after a Fonseca basket. York battled back with strong outside shooting, getting three's from Franklin Green, Cyril Reid and Ryan St. John, to take a 13-12 lead.

Vincent Dacuno help CSI get back on top with a pair of three-pointers to give his team a 20-15 lead. York would retake the lead briefly after a Rashaan Bailey basket, but Staten Island closed the half on top with a 35-32 lead.

In the second half, York retook the lead after some sloppy play by the Dolphins helped get York back in the game. Another three-pointer by St. John put York on top 46-41. However, CSI responded with a 10-0 run to go back ahead, 53-51, with 8:51 to go.

The game stayed tight until the end, with York moving ahead by six points, after a Reid lay-up and two Williams free throws made it 66-60 with 1:05 to go. It looked like York had the game wrapped up at that point, but the Cardinals almost gave it away in the final seconds.

After Fonseca drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to three, York turned the ball over on the ensuing in-bounds pass, which set up an easy lay-up for Schettino, making the score 66-65. York then turned the ball over again and Staten Island had a chance to take the lead with under 30 seconds to go.

On the possession for CSI, Khari Rollock was left wide open for a baseline jumper, which would have put his team ahead, but his shot was off the mark. Williams then came up with a long rebound and scored on an uncontested fast break to put York back up by three.

With six seconds left, York alertly fouled with a three-point lead. Fonseca hit both free throws to make it a one-point game. After a CSI foul, Terell Roper sealed the York victory with two more three throws. With five seconds left, the Dolphins could not get off a look as their final shot was blocked by Roper as the buzzer sounded.

The key to the game was turnovers. York forced Staten Island into 18 turnovers, while committing just nine. The Cardinal defense was certainly a big reason for the upset victory.

"We didn't play defense well at all the first two times we played," said Head Coach Ronald St. John. "We decided we weren't going to let Schettino and Fonseca beat us. We did a great job of switching and doubling. Green did a good job on Schettino and Williams played super defensively."

Williams was named the Player of the Game after his career performance.

"Big-time players come to play in big-time games," added St. John. "I called the last six plays for him and he came through today."

Admission to the semifinal at CCNY is free but you must have a ticket. Tickets can be downloaded here.