The City College of New York men's basketball team (3-18 Overall, 1-8 CUNYAC) picked up a critical victory on Wednesday evening, turning back the Lightning of Lehman College (11-11 Overall, 5-0 CUNYAC) by a score of 73-71 at the APEX Center in the Bronx. The Beavers solidified the victory in dramatic fashion, as the collected Brendan Barile nailed a shot with five seconds remaining to crack a 71-all tie and give his team a much-needed victory.
The Beavers exploded for 51 second half points after struggling with just 22 points in the first session. CCNY trailed the contest by a score of 27-20 at one point, and entered the locker room trailing by five – 27-22. When the second half began, the Beavers stayed close and would eventually take a 42-40 lead when Barile would hit a triple, putting his team up by two with 11:11 left in the contest.
Over the next eight minutes, CCNY would hold onto its lead and then gradually build it, eventually going up by nine points – 63-54 – with 3:08 remaining. The scrappy Lightning, however, would not quit. Lehman College would go on a 17-8 run over the next three minutes to tie the game at 71-all, before Barile would hit the game-winner for CCNY.
For CCNY, it was Matas Rascius having a game to remember, netting 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds, three steals, and two blocked shots. Also, it was Israel Vickers posting a team-high 17 points (4-8 FG, 9-10 FT) to go along with five assists and four rebounds. Kenny Rubenstein connected on five of his 10 shots and finished with the game with 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists, and Barile completed his evening with 11 points and five rebounds. Following the game, head coach Andy Stampfel gave his thoughts on the win.
"When you work hard, and you stay focused, good things are bound to happen," Stampfel said. "These guys have been in most of these CUNY games, and it was great for us to be able to finally see our hard work pay off with a big victory here at Lehman against a very tough Lightning team. We have four CUNY games left and we are hoping to finish strong and get into the tournament."
Despite the loss for Steven Schulman's Lightning, it was Victor Garcia nailing nine of his 10 shots from the line and finishing with a team-high 19 points while grabbing three rebounds. Samuel Batista had an off night shooting the basketball as he connected on just six of his 19 shots while dropping in 18 points and snatching six rebounds, and George Nimmons finalized his evening with 11 points and three rebounds.
CCNY shot 42 percent from the field while Lehman connected on 39 percent of their shots. The Beavers out-rebounded Lehman College 42-35 and tallied nine steals to the Lightning's six. The Lightning did win the turnover battle slightly, committing 14 turnovers while forcing 17 Beaver mistakes.
City College will return to action on Saturday afternoon on Alumni Day as the Beavers will battle the Bloodhounds of John Jay College in a crucial CUNYAC battle, with start-time slated for 5:00pm. The Alumni game will take place at 12:30pm, and that will be followed by a battle between the CCNY and John Jay women, followed by the Beaver men tussling with the Bloodhound men.