NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 93-90 overtime decision to Niagara in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action at the Gallagher Center. The Gaels (14-8, 8-3 MAAC) saw a 15-point second half lead and an opportunity to tie for first place in the league standings evaporate in the loss.
Sophomore David Laury led the Gaels with 24 points and 16 rebounds in his fourth straight double-double. He was 7-for-11 from the field and 10-for-12 from the free throw line with three assists and three blocks.
Senior Lamont Jones added 23 points and tied a career-high with eight rebounds. He was 8-for-17 from the field, 6-of-6 from the line but committed a season-high eight turnovers. With his first bucket in the second half, Jones became the 33rd player in Iona history to record 1,000 points. When combined with his two seasons at Arizona, Jones has posted 1,578 points.
Senior Curtis Dennis and juniors Sean Armand and Tre Bowman had 11 points each. Armand added a career high seven assists with five rebounds and two steals. Bowman added six rebounds while Dennis had two blocks in the loss.
Niagara (14-8, 10-1 MAAC) was led by Antoine Mason's career-high 30 points. Sophomore Juan'ya Green had 26 points and hit the two biggest shots of the game for the Purple Eagles. A three-pointer with 4.5 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 81-81 to second the game to overtime. Green also hit the game winner with 0.5 seconds on the clock in overtime to defeat the Gaels.
Iona built a 15 point cushion midway through the second half. With the score tied at 48-48 at 16:03, the Maroon & Gold went on a 26-11 run including 11 straight points over the next 10 minutes of the game. Niagara chipped away and took advantage of missed free throws and costly turnovers to send the game to overtime. Green connected on the home team's fourth try at the game tier as the Gaels could not corral the defensive rebound.
Niagara took a quick four-point lead in the overtime period and quickly relinquished it with five straight points by Armand. Armand sank two free throws and converted a conventional three-point play as the Gaels took a short lived 86-85 lead. Mason had a three-point play of his own 15 seconds later. After trading possessions, Laury converted two free throws to knot the score at 88-88 with 1:23 to play. Mason again gave Niagara a lead with 34 seconds left on a floater in the lane. Laury hit two more free throws to set up the final possession. It was Green's game to win all the way as the sophomore held the ball for the last shot. He stepped in just above the three-point line at the top of the key and hit the shot with a half second left. After an Iona timeout, the Gaels could not get a shot off in the heartbreaker.
Iona out shot (49.2%-39.8%), out rebounded (46-42), and had more assists (16-15) than Niagara. However, the Purple Eagles drained 11 three-pointers and committed just six turnovers.
The Maroon & Gold looks to salvage its annual Western New York swing when they take on Canisius on Saturday evening. The Golden Griffins remain a game behind the Gaels in third place in the MAAC following their win over Loyola Friday night.
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