ALBANY, NY – The No. 3 seed Iona College men’s basketball team kicked off the MAAC Championships this evening with an 88-70 victory against No. 6 Rider in the quarterfinal round as the backcourt tandem of Rickey McGill and Schadrac Casimir combined for 47 points.
McGill recorded a new career-high of 25 points that included a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line to go along with six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Meanwhile, Casimir shot 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the free throw line towards 22 points. Jordan Washington and Deyshonee Much also reached double-figures for the Gaels (20-12) with 16 points and 10 points respectively with five rebounds each as well.
In the effort, Rider (18-15) controlled a 46-37 rebounding advantage towards 24 second chance points as guard Stevie Jordan led the group with 12 rebounds to go with 19 points, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Kahlil Thomas also added a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in addition to two steals.
McGill scored 13 points in the opening eight minutes to push the Maroon & Gold ahead 23-8 following a 3-pointer off a Sam Cassell Jr. assist. The advantage increased to as much as 22 points for the Gaels at 35-13 on the heels of a Casimir trey. However, a 14-2 run from the Broncs cut the deficit to 37-27 with 3:33 remaining in the half.
Iona maintained a double-digit margin for the remainder of the half, pushing the lead back to 16 points before heading into the break with a 49-35 lead. McGill scored 18 points in the opening 20 minutes while Casimir added 14 to combine for 32 of the team’s first half points. The Gaels also forced 10 Rider turnovers to generate 17 points off those turnovers.
After the Broncs cut the Iona lead to seven points behind a 7-0 run early in the second period, Casimir hit back-to-back 3-pointers to reestablish a double-figure margin. Washington helped increase the spread with three straight baskets after scoring just two points in the first half.
The Maroon & Gold kept did not allow the lead to slip below 15 points for the final 13:19 of action as Washington added eight more points for a total of 14 in the half. The group also finished opportunities at the charity stripe, shooting 23-of-26 (88.5 percent) for the game to manufacture a 10-made free throw margin.
McGill’s previous career-high of 22 points also came at the Times Union Center this season during a 77-66 victory against Siena on January 27th. Additionally, the Gaels matched a season-high of six blocks for the fourth time this season led by two from Tyrell Williams.
Also during tonight's game, Washington became the 38th member of program's 1,000th point club. In just two season, the New York native has recorded 1,005 points for the Maroon & Gold.
With tonight’s victory, the Gaels secured a 20-win season for the seventh straight season under Head Coach Tim Cluess and eighth straight overall for the program.
Iona advances to the MAAC Championship Semifinal Round on Sunday to face Saint Peter’s at 7:00 pm from the Times Union Center. For updated ticket and fan information, please visit the Iona Tournament Page.