SAN JUAN, PR - The Iona College men's basketball team led wire-to-wire and staved off a late Western Michigan run in a 94-88 victory at the 5-hour ENERGY® Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Coliseo de Puerto Rico. Junior Kyle Smyth poured in a team-best 24 points and senior Scott Machado posted his second straight double-double with 17 points and 15 assists to lead six Gaels with 10 or more points.
Smyth drained his first of seven three-pointers just five seconds into the contest and the Gaels never looked back. After taking an early 7-0 advantage, Western Michigan would not get closer than four points for the duration of the game. A Machado layup at the 5:11 mark of the first half gave Iona its first double-digit lead at 28-17. The Maroon & Gold had its second 7-0 run of the half and lead on a Ra'Shad James three-pointer with 4:32 remaining. The Gaels led by as many as 14 in the first half before settling into a 42-29 advantage at the intermission.
With the same 13-point lead just over three minutes into the second half, Iona went on an 8-0 run capped by an incredible alley-oop from Machado to James at 15:42 that put Iona ahead 57-36. The Gaels could not put the hammer down on the Broncos however. Nursing an 18 point lead at 10:37 after junior Lamont Jones sank 1-of-2 technical free throws, Western Michigan scored the game's next 10 points to cut the deficit to single digits with less than seven minutes to play. A Mike Douglas three-pointer with 4:47 remaining made the score 77-71, but the Gaels' opponent would not get any closer. A breakaway layup by Jones off a Bronco turnover put Iona ahead 85-75 with 3:25 to play. Machado connected with a cutting junior Taaj Ridley on the baseline on the next possession as Iona went ahead by 12 points late. Western Michigan kept chipping away and scored the final four points in the last 26 seconds to get the score to its 94-88 final.
Iona continued its spectacular offensive numbers reaching 90 points for the second straight game. Smyth's 24 points and seven three-pointers marked his second-highest career output, trailing only a 29-point, and school record eight-trey effort at Albany last season. Smyth added seven rebounds, five steals and three assists in the win.
Machado matched his career-high with the 15 assists, also reached in the contest vs. the Great Danes. He broke his own single-game Puerto Rico Tip-Off record along with the three-game tournament record. All this came a game after breaking Iona's career assist mark. Machado's all around effort also came with five rebounds and five steals. He's averaging a team best 15.5 points and 13.0 assists in the two contests so far.
James electrified the crowd at the Coliseo, with 14 points in 15 minutes of play. He had three alley-oop dunks from Machado destined for ESPN's SportsCenter. Ridley had another solid effort with 13 points and nine rebounds, missing his second double-double by just one board. After a slow start due to foul trouble, senior Mike Glover ended the contest with 12 points and four rebounds, shooting 5-for-5 from the field. Jones added 10 points and three assists with two steals.
The Gaels complete play in Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon when they face the ACC’s Maryland at 2:00 pm in a ESPNU televised contest. The Terrapins came from behind with a strong second half to defeat the Pac-12’s Colorado in the contest following Iona’s win over Western Michigan.
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