BUFFALO, NY - A see-saw battle teetered in the wrong direction in the final minute for the Iona College men's basketball team in a 77-74 loss at Canisius in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action at the Koessler Athletic Center. The Golden Griffins (15-8, 8-4 MAAC) took the lead at the free throw line marking the 12th tie score and 14th lead change of the contest.
Iona (14-9, 8-4 MAAC) senior Taaj Ridley led the Gaels with a career-high 18 points while adding seven rebounds. Senior Lamont Jones posted 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Sophomore David Laury posted his fifth straight double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds while also adding five assists. Senior Curtis Dennis posted 11 points as the Gaels fourth double-digit scorer.
Canisius' Alshwan Hymes hit a three-pointer with 5:24 to play in the first half to cap a 7-0 run and give his team a 36-26 advantage. The Gaels scored 12 straight points to erase the deficit and gain the lead with less than a minute to play. Iona outscored the Griffs 14-2 over the final 5:06 and led 40-38 at the break.
Iona scored the first five points of the second half and took a seven point lead, its largest of the game on a Dennis put back and three-point play less than two minutes into the frame. Canisius tied the score at 51-51 on a three-pointer by Harold Washington at 14:36. Neither team gained more than a three-point lead until two Jones' free throws put Iona ahead 70-65 with 5:09 to play. The Griffs quickly tied the score on a layup and three-pointer by Billy Baron.
A Jones floater gave the Maroon & Gold its final lead of the game at 74-72 with 3:12 on the clock. It would turn out to be the final field goal for both teams. A few possessions later, Jones was whistled for a foul on Baron on a three-point attempt with 58 seconds on the clock. Baron drained all three attempts for the final lead change of the game.
The Gaels had two costly turnovers on its next two possessions. Canisius' Jordan Heath and Isaac Sosa both went 1-for-2 from the line allowing Iona a chance for a final opportunity with 2.5 seconds remaining. Junior Tre Bowman's 40-foot attempt from the right wing fell short and Canisius earned the three-point win.
Junior Sean Armand was plagued with foul trouble in both halves and scored just nine points on three three-point field goals. Bowman had seven points and five rebounds while junior DaShawn Gomez had five points, six boards and four assists off the bench.
Baron led five double-digit scorers for the home team with 23 points. He added six assists and five boards. Chris Manhertz posted 12 points and a team leading eight rebounds.
Canisius' held a slim advantage from the field (40.0%-39.7%). They also hit seven more three-pointers although the Gaels drained seven more field goals overall. Canisius converted 19-of-27 free throw attempts to Iona's 9-for-14 effort. The Maroon & Gold had a 49-35 advantage on the boards and 18-13 in assists. Canisius turned the ball over one less time than its counterpart.
With the loss, the Gaels are now tied for second place in the MAAC standings with Canisius and Loyola. Niagara leads the league with its 10-2 mark following a double-overtime loss to the Greyhounds Saturday afternoon.
Iona returns to action Thursday night when it hosts Marist at the Hynes Center. The 7:00 pm tip follows the women's team vs. the Red Foxes at 4:30 pm.