The Iona College Gaels, led by hall of famer Rick Pitino, have been shaky this week in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Their performances, while solid, haven’t been enough to bring home all five possible wins this week.
Double header with Manhattan
Iona took on their longtime rivals, the Manhattan Jaspers, this week on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13. It was the pair’s 99th and 100th game playing each other, respectively. The Gaels made sure to make their mark in the first game.
The game started out rough for Iona. Manhattan took the lead and kept it in the early part of the first half. After Iona found their rhythm, though, they took hold of the game. By the end of the first half, the Gaels lead their rivals 49-29, the second-most they’ve scored in a single half all season.
The beginning of the second half continued Iona’s momentum. The Jaspers were able to stunt it a bit in the middle of the half, but a fast 11-point stretch by Myers and senior Asante Gist helped keep Iona in the game. The Gaels bounced back and ended up taking the game 85-67.
The next day was a much different story, though.
Second day against the Jaspers
The Jaspers did their homework and came out of the lockers ready to win. In the first half, JeanLouis and Junior Joseph were kept at bay, scoring nine and eight respectively. Senior Isaiah Ross did his best to help the Gaels keep up with Manhattan, but it wasn’t enough. Junior Elijah Buchanan spearheaded Manhattan’s team to lead the Gaels 47-37 by the end of the half.
The Jaspers had a total of seven players who scored in the first half, compared to Iona’s five players.
The second half was a lot tighter. Iona came out and outscored Manhattan 33-30 with 16 points across Ross, JeanLouis and Junior Joseph, but it wasn’t enough as juniors Warren Williams and Ant Nelson alongside Buchanan combined for a total 22 points, with Buchanan scoring half.
In the end, the Jaspers got their revenge on the Gaels and won the 100th meeting 77-70.
Single shot at Quinnipiac
Iona’s losing form this week continued at Quinnipiac, as the Bobcats won 74-70. Despite the loss, the Gaels had their third-highest scoring half in the season.
It was a matter of offense in the first half and Quinnipiac came out on top big.
Ross led the Gaels once again in scoring, netting 18 points during the game. Other top performers included Junior Joseph with 12 points and freshman Dwayne Koroma with 10 points.
The first half was hot for the Bobcats as they outscored the Gaels 34-25. The scoring was spread quite evenly. Junior Tyrese Williams lead with nine points. Senior Jacob Rigoni, sophomore Seth Pinkney and junior Tyree Pickron scoring six each.
The second half was a different story as the Gaels starting waking up and performing. Offense continued to be the name of the game as both teams went back and forth. Throughout the final 10 minutes of the game, the difference between the two was never more than five points. In the end, though, Quinnipiac secured the 74-70 win, scoring 40 to Iona’s 45.
It was the Gaels’ consistent fouls that gave the game to the Bobcats. Iona went 3-5 from the foul line while Quinnipiac went 15-19. It spelled victory for the Bobcats and demise for the Gaels as they went 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the MAAC.
Back to back with Monmouth
Iona broke their two-game losing streak this week as they had a close win against the Monmouth Hawks, 91-86. This would be the highest scoring game for the Gaels all season.
Iona also broke their own season-high of 49 by five, scoring 54 points in the first half. Monmouth was able to put 34 past the Gaels.
Junior Joseph was top performer for Iona here with 19 points overall. Seniors Asante Gist and Dylan van Eyck had 18 and 13 points respectively. Myers showed up as well, scoring 13 for the Gaels.
The first half was all about the Gaels. At the 16:44 mark, it was 8-7 to the Hawks and just three minutes later, its 17-10 to Iona. Half way through the first half, the Gaels led the Hawks 32-13. By the end of the half, it was 54-34 to Iona. Junior Joseph scored 10, Gist scored 12 and Myers scored all 13 of his points in this half. It looked to be a sweep.
Come second half and the Hawks showed up.
Senior Deion Hammond was on fire, scoring 19 points, getting two steals and securing three defensive rebounds. He spearheaded Monmouth’s fight back against the Gaels in the second half. It didn’t help Iona that they brought in their fouling habits from the last game. The Hawks were 22-27 from the foul line, compared to Iona’s 9-13.
The game came to a tense moment in the final seconds. Monmouth had made a couple of free throws to put the Hawks within range to tie the game at 89-86. With a final chance to drain a three, the Gaels defended hard and forced a jump ball with 1.9 seconds to spare. Gist ended up being fouled on the inbound and drained two to make the final score 91-86.
Keeping the momentum
Saturday came around and the Gaels proved to be too much for the Hawks once more as they won 88-65. Ross put away 31 points for the Gaels, almost reaching his best of 33 points all season. Gist put away 15 while van Eyck scored 13 and Myers sunk 12.
Monmouth fouled the Gaels a bunch first half, leading to Iona going 13-14 from the foul line. The Gaels didn’t send the Hawks to the line nearly as much, with the Hawks sinking 3-4 from the line. Iona was much more accurate in general, with Iona’s 42.86 field-goal percentage compared to Monmouth’s 35.29 field-goal percentage.
It was a similar story in the second half, though Iona started to get more aggressive. Monmouth went 18-19 from the foul line this time, with Iona going 8-9. Iona kept up their scoring prowess, scoring 44 in both halves to get their 88 to the Hawks 65.
The Gaels have Marist Wednesday and a double header next weekend against Siena.