NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College men's basketball head coach Tim Cluess announced the Gaels’ 2014-15 schedule Wednesday in conjunction with the announcement of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference slate by the league office. The schedule features 10 non-conference opponents including an appearance in the 2014 BD Global Roundball Showcase and a standard 20 MAAC contests.
"We're looking forward to another challenging schedule," said Cluess. "We look to our 10 talented non-conference opponents to prepare us for what's shaping up to be a very competitive MAAC this year."
For the second straight season Iona will open up with the Horizon League's Cleveland State in a Friday night contest at the Hynes Center. The Vikings come to New Rochelle for the first time in 18 seasons. The Gaels dropped both contests to Cleveland State in the Cluess era with both games taking place at CSU's Wolstein Center. Iona is 1-3 all-time vs. the Vikings.
The Maroon & Gold's second game of the season is Nov. 18 when they complete a home-and-home series at Wofford in Spartanburg, SC. As previously announced the game will be a part of ESPN's annual Tip-Off Marathon with the two teams squaring off in the 7:00 am time slot. Iona defeated Wofford in its home opener in 2013-14 in the two teams’ first-ever meeting.
The next four games for the Gaels are a part of The Roundball Showcase, an exempt tournament event hosted at participant's campus sites. The weekend prior to the Thanksgiving holiday Iona travels to the ACC's Wake Forest (Nov. 21) and Conference USA's North Texas (Nov. 23). Two seasons ago the Gaels topped the Demon Deacons at the Puerto Rico Tipoff in San Juan. The Maroon & Gold has never faced North Texas.
Iona comes home to host Delaware State on Thanksgiving Eve (Nov. 26) at the Hynes Center, and then travels to Fayetville to battle with the SEC's Arkansas the following Saturday (Nov. 30). The Gaels meet the Hornets and Razorbacks for the first time this season.
A six-day break from games is followed by the annual MAAC December Weekend which sees the Gaels taking on a pair of New Jersey schools. Iona travels to Monmouth to open league play on Sunday, Dec. 7 and hosts Rider on Dec. 10 in New Rochelle.
Non-conference play continues with Iona hosting Indiana State on Dec. 13 in a Bracketbusters return game from the program's heartbreaking loss in Terre Haute two years ago. The Gaels then hit the road to take on George Mason on Dec. 20 to also complete a home-and-home series and finish the 2014 portion of the schedule at UMass on Dec. 30.
Iona's 10th non-conference opponent is Florida Gulf Coast. The date for the matchup at the Hynes Center will be announced in the coming weeks. The Gaels are also seeking to add an 11th opponent which is also to be determined.
Key dates for the Maroon & Gold during the bulk of the MAAC schedule in January and February include: a three-game home stand from Jan. 6-10 vs. Quinnipiac, Canisius and Fairfield; the home-and-home rematch of the 2013 and 2014 MAAC Championship games against Manhattan in Riverdale on Feb. 13 and in New Rochelle on Senior Night on Feb. 27; and a Friday night showdown with Siena at the Hynes Center on Feb. 6.
The 2015 MAAC Men's Basketball Championship returns to Albany, NY and the Times Union Center for the first time in five seasons and will take place Mar. 5-9.