NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team earned an 84-73 victory over Fairfield in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action at the Hynes Center. The Gaels (12-6, 6-1 MAAC) won their sixth straight game, improved to 7-0 at home and maintained pace with Niagara for first place in the league standings in the victory over the Stags (10-9, 2-5 MAAC).
Iona's dynamic scoring duo of senior Lamont Jones and junior Sean Armand led the way with 27 points and 23 points respectively. It is the fifth time this season both players scored 20 or more in the same contest. Armand carried the Gaels in the first half posting a game-high 15 points in the frame. Jones picked up the load in the second half netting 22 points.
Jones, the No. 5 scorer in the NCAA, shot 10-of-17 from the field including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Armand was 7-of-15 with three three-pointers. Armand added five rebounds in the win.
Junior DaShawn Gomez and sophomore David Laury scored nine points apiece in a supporting role. Gomez tripled his previous career-high draining 3-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc. He also posted three assists. Laury struggled from the field - just 2-of-12 - but recorded 14 rebounds and an Iona season-best five blocks in 33 minutes.
For the fourth time during Iona's six-game winning streak, the squad was both out shot and out rebounded by its opponent. Fairfield has a 44.6% - 42.2% advantage from the field and 41-38 on the boards. The Gaels committed just eight turnovers. In their last five games, the Maroon & Gold is averaging just 9.8 turnovers per game.
Fairfield senior Derek Needham scored 26 points and grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore Maurice Barrow and freshman Marcus Gilbert had 12 points each. Gilbert added nine rebounds and two bocks while Barrow had five offensive boards Rookie Amadou Sidibe had 11 rebounds to lead the Stags.
The Gaels took an 11-point advantage into halftime with the help of a 14-4 run over the last 5:07 of the frame. Fairfield got to within one point just over five minutes into the second half, as it started the half scoring 16 of the first 22 points. Iona never relinquished the lead and less than five minutes later regained a double-digit lead on a runner by rookie A.J. English at 10:56 that made the score 61-50.
The pendulum swung back in the visitors favor and the Stags climbed back to within three points with 3:41 left. Four straight points by Jones gave the Gaels a seven-point advantage with 2:28 to play and the Maroon & Gold held off Fairfield for the victory.
Iona hits the road at Rider on Sunday at 2:00 pm. After two straight home games, the Gaels play four of their next five on the road.
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