NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team tied a school record for three-point proclivity in an 87-69 win over Liberty in a ESPN Bracketbusters return game at the Hynes Center. Led by senior Lamont Jones' 24 points, junior Sean Armand's 23 points and the team's 18 three-point field goals, the Gaels (5-4) earned back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The high octane offense was flowing for both teams to start the match as the two teams combined for 45 points over the first eight plus minutes of the game. Down 12-11 at 15:49, freshman A.J. English drained one of five trifectas on the night to spark an 8-0 run to give Iona a lead it would not relinquish.
The Gaels earned a double-digit lead at 8:28 on a three-pointer by junior Tre Bowman, after a Liberty free throw, Armand drained a three-ball to put the Maroon & Gold ahead 34-21. Iona's run was 23-9 after facing its final deficit of the contest. The 13 point lead was the largest of the half. The Flames chipped away and two field goals in the final minute of the half made the halftime margin 43-37.
Liberty got as close as four points on its first bucket of the second half, but that would be it. Iona scored 21 of the game's next 27 points including 13 straight over a 2:23 stretch and took a 45-64 lead on an English three-pointer with 14:34 remaining.
The reigning MAAC Player of the Week, Jones scored 14 of his game-high 24 points in the second half. He shot 9-of-13 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He added a team-best five assists and also grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in 28 minutes.
Armand drained seven three-pointers and was 2-for-2 from the free throw line to account for his 23 points. He grabbed a team-best nine rebounds and had four assists and two steals.
Fresh off his first MAAC Rookie of the Week honor, English posted 17 points, and a season-high seven rebounds and three assists. English was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. He has averaged 14.0 points per game over his last three appearances.
Bowman added 13 points off the bench for the Gaels while sophomore Tavon Sledge had six points and three assists.
The Gaels shot 44.6% from the field while holding Liberty to 40.4%. In addition to matching a school record 18 three-pointers - set on Nov. 23, 2010 at Albany - the Gaels also broke the school's attempt record with 41. The previous mark was 39 against Siena on Jan. 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden.
Liberty's John Caleb Sanders had 15 points to lead the visitors. JR Coronado posted an 11-point, 14-rebounnd double-double. Leading scorer Davon Marshall was held to nine points though he led the squad with five assists.
The Gaels are back in action in a short turnaround on Thursday (Dec. 20) at La Salle in Philadelphia.