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          Release: 02/28/2010
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JERSEY CITY, NJ - Sophomore Scott Machado sank two free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining and classmate Jermel Jenkins came up stripped the ball away to force a Saint Peter's turnover on the final possession as the Iona College men's basketball team gritted out a 49-48 win over the Peacocks in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference finale at the Yanitelli Center.

With the win, the Gaels (21-9, 12-6 MAAC) clinched the No. 3 seed in next weekend's MAAC Championship. The Maroon & Gold takes on No. 6 Niagara in the quarterfinal round on Saturday night (Mar. 6) at 10:00 pm. The game will be aired live on MSG Network from the Times Union Center.

Both teams played lockdown defense to keep the scoring total low in the game. Saint Peter's held a 27-24 advantage at halftime while holding Iona to just 32.0% shooting. The Gaels turned up the defense in the second frame, allowing the host Peacocks to just 26.9% shooting from the field.

Midway through the second half, Iona held its largest lead of the game when Jermel Jenkins drained a three-pointer from the wing to make the score 42-37. Saint Peter's junior Wesley Jenkins answered with a trifecta of his own to cut the deficit to two points at 9:21. The next points were scored nearly four minutes later. Junior Ryan Bacon knotted the score at 42-42 at the 4:54 mark. After trading buckets over the next two and a half minutes, Bacon put the home team ahead 48-44 with 2:14 to play. It would be the last points that the Peacocks would score in the game.

Out of a timeout with 90 ticks left, Machado drove the lane and found a wide open Kyle Smyth in the corner. The red-shirt freshman calmly drained his third three-pointer of the day to cut Iona's deficit to a single point with 1:18 on the clock. On the next possession, the Peacocks' Jordan Costner was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one. Junior Alejo Rodriguez corralled the rebound with 46 seconds left. Machado's first effort was blocked but he gained the offensive rebound. The Gaels called their final timeout with 20 seconds remaining to set up the last opportunity. Freshman Steven Samuels fouled Machado on his drive to the lane setting up the chance for the game winning free throws.

After a Saint Peter's timeout, Leon drove on Jenkins, who got a hand on the ball and deflected it off the Peacock junior out of bounds to seal the game. It was the second game-winning defensive stop of the season for Jenkins. The sophomore recorded a steal on Manhattan's Rico Pickett on the road in the final five seconds of a two-point win on Jan. 22.

Jermel Jenkins led the Gaels with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Machado had 10 points and six assists in the win. Rodriguez played a season-high 36 minutes and grabbed 13 rebounds along with six points, two assists and two blocks. Smyth added nine points off the bench, all from beyond the arc.

Bacon and Wesley Jenkins each had 12 points and seven boards to lead the Peacocks.


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