Staten Island Ends RIC's NCAA Tournament Run, 77-67, in Second Round

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Staten Island, N.Y.- Senior guard T.J. Tibbs (Staten Island, NY) tallied a game-high 40 points as the College of Staten Island knocked off Rhode Island College, 77-67, in the Second Round of the 2012 NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament played at the CSI Sports and Recreation Center on Saturday night.


The Dolphins (26-4) advance to the sectional rounds on March 9-10, while the Anchormen (23-7) see their season come to a close. It was the sixth consecutive 20-win season for Rhode Island College and also the sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the Anchormen.


RIC and CSI went back and forth through the first half, with the visiting Anchormen holding on to a slight lead for most of the first frame. Trailing by just one, a trey from Tibbs with 2:39 remaining in the stanza gave the Dolphins a 28-26 lead, a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.


After Staten Island went into the intermission with a three point lead, 33-30, the Anchormen did their best to keep things close as the second half began. Every time the Dolphins increased their lead, RIC had an answer, trimming the deficit to just one point on several occasions. A layup from junior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) made it, 40-39, with 13:42 left to play, but that would be the closest RIC would come to overtaking CSI. The Dolphins went on an 11-3 run over the next three and half minutes to take a 51-42 lead, capped off by a pair of free throws from freshman forward Javon Cox (Bronx, NY) with 9:01 on the clock.


Back-to-back baskets from sophomore guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) made it, 51-45, and trimmed the margin to six with 8:50 remaining. Yet, Tibbs responded with a pair of three-pointers to put the Dolphins back up by 10 with 7:24 left to play. Despite trailing, 57-47, the resilient Anchormen went on a 12-5 run over the next four minutes to cut the margin to just three points.


Senior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) connected on a layup with 3:11 remaining to make it, 62-59, but again Tibbs drained back-to-back three-pointers to put the Dolphins back on top by nine, 68-59, with 1:16 on the clock. Despite their best efforts in the final minute and change, RIC could not overcome the nine point deficit.


Staten Island shot 37 percent from the floor (19-for-51) and 50 percent (8-for-16) from downtown, while the Rhode Island College shot just 31 percent (20-for-63) from the field and 26 percent (6-for-23) from beyond the arc. The Dolphins also benefited from a strong effort at the free throw line, where they went 31-for-37 (84 percent). The Anchormen shot 72 percent (21-for-29) from the charity stripe.


Akinrola posted a team-high 23 points to go along with six rebounds in the loss. Senior forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) tallied 13 points and four boards, while DeCiantis and sophomore guard Avery King (Pawtucket, RI) each finished with 11 points. Carter corralled a team-high nine rebounds to go along with three points, four steals, and three assists. Junior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) added four points and seven rebounds.


Cox chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds for CSI. Sophomore guard Bloochy Magloire (Staten Island, NY) added eight points, while junior forward Lameik Black (Staten Island, NY) contributed with three points and a team-high nine boards off the bench.