NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Iona College men's basketball senior A.J. English poured in a career-high 46 points and set a school and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference record with 13 three-point field goals in leading the Gaels to a 101-77 win over Fairfield at the Hynes Center Tuesday night.
The Maroon & Gold trailed by nine points early before rallying to tie on three occasions and took the lead for good with a pair of English free throws at the four-minute mark of the first half that made the score 33-32. It was in the midst of a 18-4 run late in the frame which gave Iona an 11-point advantage with 95 ticks left. Fairfield scored the final five points of the half and trailed by six at halftime.
The visitors got within four points on its first possession but it was as close as they would get. Iona went on a season-best 14-0 run in a 3:41 span and took a 77-55 lead with 12:08 to play. A trio of English three pointers, one from sophomore Deyshonee Much and an electric alley-oop connection from English to junior Taylor Bessick accounted for the scoring in the decisive stretch for the Gaels.
Not to be overlooked was the breakout effort of freshman guard Jahaad Proctor. The rookie came off the bench and scored 20 points in 23 minutes of action. He had previously scored just six points in his first 25 minutes over three games. Proctor was 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from distance with four rebounds, an assist, a steal and no turnovers.
Junior Jordan Washington's tough play down low opened up the outside for the Iona's sharpshooters. Washington had a season-best 18 points also shooting 8-of-11 from the field with. Senior Isaiah Williams had 12 rebounds including six offensive boards which led to 10 Iona second-chance points.
And now, the low down on English's historic effort. The senior guard shot 15-of-25 from the field, 13-of-19 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the line.
It was the second highest single-game scoring effort in Iona history, behind Goal Club Hall of Famer Warren Issac's 50 points vs. Bates College on Dec. 18, 1964. It broke former teammate Lamont Jones' Hynes Center scoring record of 43 vs. Canisius on Feb. 2, 2012 and tied the single-game MAAC scoring record set by Jim McCaffrey of Holy Cross in 1985. It was also the highest scoring effort in NCAA Division I during the 2015-16 season thus far. It was the ninth effort of 40 or more points in Iona history. In 75-years of Iona basketball, three of the nine high scoring efforts have come in the last five-plus seasons under head coach Tim Cluess. English's previous career-high was 37 points at North Texas last year.
The 13 three-pointers broke former teammate Sean Armand's school and MAAC record of 10 trifectas set vs. Siena on Jan. 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden. His 19 attempts matched Armand's mark from that contest. The previous Hynes center mark for long distance proclivity was nine, by teammate Schadrac Casimir last season vs. Delaware State. English's previous career-high three-point total was eight set at Dayton during his sophomore campaign. In the second half, English shot 9-for-10 from downtown, hitting his first nine attempts, scoring 32 of the 46 points in the final 20 minutes.
Oh, and he also added a game-high eight assists and three rebounds with two steals. English was involved in some way with 23 of Iona's 37 field goals in the win.
Fairfield had four players score 10 or more points led by Curtis Cobb's 16. Matija Milin had 13 points and six rebounds while guard Jerome Segura posted 11 points and eight assists in the defeat.
The Gaels 19 team three-point field goals matched the second highest total in school history for the second time. The team hit the number last year vs. Monmouth in the MAAC semifinal round.
Iona travels to Marist Friday night to complete its MAAC December play.