PHILADELPHIA, PA - Saint Joseph's out lasted a late comeback attempt by the Iona College men's basketball team in a 96-91 shoot out at Hagan Arena. The Gaels (6-6) got within two points of erasing a double-digit second half deficit with 37 seconds left but were unable to close the game in the defeat.
Senior Lamont Jones led Iona with 25 points, shooting 10-of-20 from the field. He added five assists. Sophomore David Laury had another impressive showing his second 21-point, 14-rebound double-double in three appearances in Maroon & Gold. Junior Sean Armand Had 17 points while dishing out six assists in the loss. Armand hit five three-pointers in the game including three in consecutive possessions towards the end of the first half. Freshman A.J. English added 11 first half points.
A Laury layup at 7:02 gave the Gaels a 36-30 advantage, its largest lead of the half. Saint Joseph's (6-4) went on an 11-2 run to take a 41-38 lead with 2:59 remaining. Armand's flurry ended a more than three minute field goal drought for the Gaels as Iona went into the break with a 47-45 lead.
The Hawks were lights out after the intermission. With the score tied at 56-56 just 4:30 into the second half, the home team went on a 13-2 run to gain its largest lead of the contest. Papa Ndao's tip-in at 12:09 made the score 69-58. Five minutes later, Iona trimmed its deficit to three points after a 9-2 run was capped by a Jones' layup at 7:05.
Senior Taaj Ridley's three-pointer from the corner answered a three-ball by St. Joe's Langston Galloway and made the score 79-75 with 5:43 to play. The turning point of the contest followed as Galloway and Carl Jones hit back-to-back long balls to regain a 10-point advantage with 4:31 to play.
Still trailing by 10 points with 3:44 remaining, a quick transition layup by sophomore Tavon Sledge was followed by a Laury tip-in to cut the deficit to six. After a Hawks' put back, Momo Jones' conventional three point play made the score 89-84 with 1:12 on the clock.
Saint Joseph's Jones converted 1-of-2 from the line on the next possession and Momo Jones found Ridley for a wide open layup with 49 ticks left to again make it a four-point game. A key turnover by Carl Jones was followed by an alley-oop dunk by Laury from Momo Jones and it was a two point game with 37 seconds left.
On the ensuing inbounds play, Iona was whistled for a loose ball foul sending C.J. Aiken to the line for two shots. Down four, an Iona turnover was followed by two Galloway free throws with 22 seconds left. Momo Jones came down and buried a three from the wing to make the score 94-91 and 17 seconds on the cock. Aiken iced the game at the charity stripe as the Gaels fell short 96-91.
The Hawks' trio of Jones, Galloway and Aiken out dueled Iona's trio of Jones, Laury and Armand. Jones poured in a game-high 32 points with five rebounds and four assists. Galloway had 23 points and Aiken posted 22 points, nine boards and four blocks.
The Gaels' had the advantage in the rebound (41-30), assist (20-14) and turnover (11-2) columns. In addition to the Hawks' 56.9% - 47.3% shooting lead from the field, the home team had shot 19-of-27 from the free throw line (Iona, 11-for-16) and were whistled for nine less fouls.
The Gaels complete action in 2012 on New Year's Eve when they travel to Olean, NY to take on St. Bonaventure. It is the second of a three-game road trip for the Gaels and the third Atlantic-10 opponent in the last four games for the Maroon & Gold.