Photo courtesy of Geraldo Rodriguez/Iona College Athletics
By David Cordova
This season has been an up and down year for the Gaels, as they have gone from having a six-game winning streak from January 17th to February 3rd to losing a couple of close games to teams such as Siena on February 7th at home and Canisius on the road on February 14th. But despite all of that, the Gaels were 18-10 overall and 11-6 coming into today’s game against Rider.
In the first matchup between both teams on February 3rd, in Lawrenceville, NJ, before a packed house on Rider’s home court, the Gaels dominated the Broncs from start to finish as they won in a rout, 95-76. But this time around would be no easy win for the Gaels, as the Broncs came back for revenge.
Rider 103, Iona 85
At the start of the game, the Gaels started off aggressive as they took a 5-2 lead with 18:20 to go in the first half after a jumper by Sam Cassell Jr. and Taylor Bessick. But then Rider turned things around would take a 9-5 lead with 16:20 to go after a layup by Kahlil Thomas.
The Broncs’ defensive pressure on the Gaels helped them gain a ten-point lead, 21-11, with 11:54 to go after a three-pointer by Jimmie Taylor. Most of the first half, the Gaels were struggling as their shots were not falling and their counterparts were out-hustling and out-rebounding them. A basket by Norville Carey would bring them to a sixteen-point lead, 30-14, with 9:21 remaining in the first half.
Iona would not stay down for long as they would go on a 16-8 run over the next five minutes to cut the deficit to eight, 38-30, with 4:21 left to go in the first half, after a three by E.J. Crawford. But the Broncs would continue to hold the lead down, and ended the half leading by twelve, 50-38. The Broncs hit 54% from the field, three-point range and from the free-throw line, while the Gaels hit 80% from the free-throw line, which kept them in the game, but they hit 22.2% from three-point range and 36% from the field.
In the second half, Iona began knocking on the heels of Rider, as they cut their deficit to seven, 55-48, on a layup by Rickey McGill with 16:02 to go in the game. But the Broncs would continue their aggression, as they brought their lead up to sixteen, 64-48, with 14:30 left after a three by Taylor.
The Broncs continued to exploit the Gaels as their foul trouble opened the door for Rider to bring the lead up to twenty, 80-60, with 7:52 to go after a layup by Carey. Although the Gaels got a superb showing from Washington, it would not be enough to contain the opposition as the Broncs got their revenge and won big at the Hynes Athletic Center.
Taylor led Rider with 28 points, Carey added 20 points and six rebounds and Jordan would add 17 points and nine assists. For Iona, Washington led with 38 points and 10 rebounds and Severe added 16 points and five assists in the loss.