VALPARAISO, IN - The Iona College men's basketball team continued its success away from home this year earning a 85-77 win over Valparaiso in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament at Valpo's Athletics-Recreation Center. The Gaels (23-11) jumped out to an early eight-point advantage and never relinquished the lead while withstanding a late Crusader (23-12) charge in the win.
Prior to the contest it was announced that the winner of the contest would receive one of four second byes. The Gaels wait to hear their next opponent but will play either Monday (Mar. 20) or Tuesday (Mar. 21).
After allowing the first bucket of the game, a three-pointer by Ryan Broekhoff, the Gaels shot out to a 15-8 lead after a Scott Machado put-back less than five minutes in. The Maroon & Gold was able to extend its lead to double-digits at the 10:55 mark on junior Trinity Fields' steal and layup. Iona's largest lead of the half was 13 points when senior Rashon Dwight knocked down two free throws with eight minutes remaining and made the score 28-15. Iona shook off a 9-2 Valpo run over the next 3:22 matching the Crusaders with nine of the next 11 points to regain its 13-point advantage.
Valparaiso never got within six points in the second half. Leading 62-55 with 8:07 left, the Gaels scored seven straight and took a 14-point advantage. A Machado three-pointer at 4:08 put Iona ahead 74-59 for its largest lead of the contest. The Crusaders put the Gaels on the free throw line the rest of the way as Iona knocked down 11-of-19 from the stripe over the final 2:18 to hold off its hosts.
Junior Mike Glover posted his 19th double-double of the season with a team-best 17 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 8-for-10 from the field in the victory. Fields sparked the Gaels off the bench with a career-high 16 points, shooting 4-for-7 from the field with two three-pointers and a 6-for-7 performance from the free throw line. Dwight and rookie Sean Armand added 14 points apiece. Dwight had five assists and four rebounds. In his first collegiate start, Armand scored 10 points including eight of the team's first 10 to spark Iona's quick start. After playing just eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Machado rebounded in the second and finished with 11 points and six assists. Senior Alejo Rodriguez added nine points in the win.
The Gaels shot 58.3% from the field and 46.7% from behind the arc. They held Valpo to 45.1% shooting and just 25.9% from three-point land.
Valparaiso freshman Jay Harris scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. Senior Howard Little posted 15 while sophomore Cory Johnson had 12 of his 14 points in the first half.
Iona's quarterfinal round opponent will be determined after the second round completes on Saturday evening.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total Iona College.................. 41 44 - 85 Valparaiso.................... 32 45 - 77