Team Gains Much Needed Chemistry for Re-Matchups Down the Road
By Robert Larosa
Down three points while time worked against them, the CSI’s Men’s Basketball team tried to rally late. The last chance to bring home a championship with a game not far out of reach seemed quite possible until an unbalanced three point shot missed. Kean University grabbed the ball and killed the remaining time to take home the championship with a 74-71 victory.
A whole season has passed since the championship loss and the Dolphins have changed dramatically since. Majority of last season’s Dolphins team have graduated from CSI and now the squad looks towards their underclassmen mainly consisting of freshmen, redshirts and transfers to step up.
“We are playing very hard and we are very young, we just have to keep putting the ball in the basket,” said Assistant Coach Jordan Young. “Last year’s loss is behind us, we have new freshmen and everyone plays hard every day.”
The Dolphins currently hold a 2-2 record after an impressive 81-66 win over Hunter with twenty four games left on their schedule. Both teams will face off for a rematch in January with playoff seeding on the line. However, this year’s team statistically doesn’t hold up compared to last year’s team.
“Totally different team this year than last year. We’re nowhere near that on offense (Comparing the offense from this year’s team to last years),” said Head Coach Tony Petosa. “We’re 2-2 and just won a huge game against Hunter.”
Last year’s offense averaged 84.3 points per game while the defense on average gave up 68.9 points per game. This year’s team averages ten points lower with 74 points per game, while the defense is giving up 71.8 points per game. Despite the coaches concerns about their defense, they’re optimistic with the youth that this team brings and will continue to bring for the next four years.
One key towards this team’s success in the future has to be not turning the ball over and producing more takeaways. So far the Dolphins average 15.5 turnovers this season while opposing teams are averaging 17.5 turnovers. The season is still young and there is still some time to make changes and with the moving forward mentality both the players and coaches share, this team could make a turn around and start a streak.
“We played really good offense and defense. Everyone played hard and everyone contributed to the win,” said guard, Frank Schettino. “If the defense continues to play well, everyone shines.”
The Dolphin’s defense will face their biggest test all year when they take on the Montclair State Red Hawks who average 78.3 points per game while their defense allows 76.8 points per game.
However, the biggest game of the season is when the Dolphins travel to Kean University for a rematch of last year’s championship match. Even though the Dolphins have lost twelve players from last year’s roster, a rematch will be much anticipated for the coaches.
Even with this 2-2 start and an offensive juggernaut coming to visit, the Dolphins can put themselves in a great situation down the stretch with five of the next six games being home games. With the coaches preaching mental toughness, the sky’s the limit for this young and hungry Dolphins team and a win this Saturday could prove that the Dolphins are contenders.
“We have a very young team and the defense is stepping up,” said Head Coach Petosa. “We’re thrilled with the win but we need to win the next game.”