NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Junior Lamont "Momo" Jones scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the second half and senior Randy Dezouvre netted a career-high 17 points to lead five Iona College men's basketball players in double-figures in a 90-84 win over Nevada in an Sears Bracketbusters contest in front of a raucous, sold out crowd at the Hynes Center. The Gaels (22-6) out lasted the Wolf Pack (22-5) and earned its third straight Bracketbusters win.
Jones shot 5-for-11 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free throw line adding four assists and four rebounds. Dezouvre was 8-for-10 from the field in his career-high effort. He scored 11 of the 17 points in the game's final 20 minutes. Senior Mike Glover was 7-for-9 from the field, netting 15 points and nine rebounds. Senior Scott Machado - the nation's leading assist man at just over 10.0 per game - had his 11th double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 assists. Sophomore Sean Armand had his fifth double-digit scoring effort in his last seven appearances with 13 points in the win.
The two teams played at a frenetic pace to start the game. An early four-point advantage by Nevada was the largest margin for either team. An Armand three-pointer cut Iona's deficit to one at 26-25 with 7:56 to play. Nevada scored 10 of the game's next 12 points over the next 2:39 and led 36-27, it's largest advantage of the contest. Trailing 43-36, with 2:10 to play the Gaels broke out their high powered offense and scored 10 straight points over the next 55 seconds. The run extended to 12-0 before Malik Story's long three-pointer as time expired made the halftime score 47-46.
Iona continued to show its offensive prowess to start the second half, extending the run to 20-5 and took a 55-48 lead at the 17:38 mark. Nevada cut the lead to two just over two minutes later on two Devonte Elliott free throws. The Gaels began a 9-1 run capped by a Jones layup and led by double figures for the first time in the ball game at 66-56 with 12:40 to play. Two and a half minutes later, another Jones layup gave the Maroon & Gold its largest lead of the contest at 13 points. The Wolf Pack got to within five points with 4:00 to play, but would not get any closer.
Senior forward Olek Czyz led Nevada with 28 points and seven rebounds. He was 10-of-13 from the free throw line. Sophomore point guard Deonte Burton posted 21 points while senior Dario Hunt had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Machado's 15 assists marked the sixth time this season he's reached the total. He improved his assists per game average to an NCAA-leading 10.1. With his third assist of the contest, he surpassed former Siena standout Ronald Moore's 813 assists and is the new all-time assist leader in the MAAC. Machado has 836 assists in 127 career games. His 283 assists this year also broke his own single-season mark set last year of 281.
Jones' three-ball in the first half put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. He played his first two seasons in the NCAA with the University of Arizona.
With the program's 22nd win of the season, Iona's senior trio of Machado, Trinity Fields and Jermel Jenkins along with red shirt junior Kyle Smyth earned their 80th career win, an average of 20 per season. The feat is remarkable as the Gaels won just 14 games combined in the two seasons prior to their arrival.
Iona will be in search of its first MAAC regular season championship since 2001 when they square off with Fairfield next Friday (Feb. 26). The Gaels can clinch at least a tie for the regular season title with a win over the Stags. The two teams square off at 9:00 pm on ESPNU at the Hynes Center.
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