NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team won its fourth straight game in an 85-73 hard fought victory over Manhattan in front of a raucous capacity crowd at the Hynes Center. The Gaels honored the legacy of Naismith Hall of Famer Richie Guerin - one of its greatest players - and retired his number 14 during a halftime ceremony. The Maroon & Gold (12-8, 9-2 MAAC) remained even a top the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings with Canisius with the win.
Eight tie scores and two lead changes characterized the first 20 minutes of the contest. The Jaspers (14-6, 7-4 MAAC) led for just 11 seconds in the frame as sophomore Ashton Pankey's layup made the score 14-13 at 12:53. Junior David Laury knotted the score at 14 on the Gaels' next possession with a free throw. The eighth and final tie score of the half was broken by Laury with 8:32 remaining to spark an 8-2 mini-run for the Maroon & Gold. Iona led by as many as eight points following Mike Poole's jumper with 2:11 on the clock. Manhattan sophomore Shane Richards' three pointer made the halftime score 39-34 in favor of the home team.
Manhattan scored the first 11 points of the second half to take its largest advantage of the contest. Senior George Beamon's jumper gave the Jaspers a 45-39 advantage just under four minutes in. Less than four minutes later, a thunderous dunk in transition by Laury knotted the score at 50-50 with 12:09 left. Sophomore A.J. English drained a huge three pointer to cap a 12-0 Gael and gave his team a 56-50 lead at 10:59. Manhattan got as close as two points following two Pankey free throws with 4:50 left but could not find an equalizer. A 10-3 run gave the Maroon & Gold a nine-point cushion with 2:09 to play and went 7-of-8 from the free throw line in the final 70 seconds to come away with the 12-point win.
Laury matched his season-high with 21 points to lead the Gaels. He was 6-of-7 from the field and added eight rebounds, also a team-high. Shooting just 47.5% from the charity stripe this season, Laury was 9-of-11 on the night. Four other Iona performers scored 10 or more points. Senior Mike Poole had a career-high 19 points with eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Senior Sean Armand had 18 points, four boards and four assists, English had 14 points and four assists and sophomore Isaiah Williams added 10 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals in the win.
Manhattan senior Rhamel Brown had 15 points and eight boards. Senior Michael Alvarado and junior Emmy Andujar each had 11. The Gaels held the MAAC's No. 3 scorer in Beamon to just nine points in the win.
Iona is back in action Monday evening at Monmouth as they embark on a three-game road trip and meet the Hawks for the first time in history.