NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College men's basketball team earned its 20th straight win at the Hynes Athletics Center in a 92-77 victory over Delaware in non-conference action Friday night. Following back-to-back losses on the road at Valparaiso and Oregon State, the Gaels cured their shooting woes, connecting on 16 three-point field goals and more than 50% of their overall shot attempts. Senior A.J. English broke out for a 25-point, 10-assist double-double to lead the Maroon & Gold.
Delaware led by as many as seven points early in the contest, hitting its first six field goal attempts and a pair of free throws. Iona's hot shooting kept them in the game early as sophomore Schadrac Casimir, senior Isaiah Williams and sophomore Deyshonee Much hit three pointers in a four possession span. The Gaels took the lead for good with the first of three straight English trifectas that made the score 19-16 with 12:39 remaining. His third make capped a 9-3 run over a 1:23 span as Iona led 25-18 at 11:16. The Blue Hens closed within one point with six straight points but that was as close as the visitors would get. Iona opened up a double-digit advantage with 5:15 to play after a Casimir three pointer completed a 12-3 run. Iona's largest lead of the half came with 74 seconds left when two English free throws gave the home team a 14-point advantage. A Delaware field goal on their final possession of the frame made it a 47-35 contest at the half.
After the Blue Hens closed the gap to five points less than three minutes into the second half, Iona scored five straight and eight of the next nine points to earn a 12-point advantage less than two minutes later. The Maroon & Gold's largest lead of the contest came on an alley-oop connection from English to junior Taylor Bessick with 4:17 remaining.
English led five Iona scorers in double figures. He shot 6-of-13 from the field with three three-pointers and was 10-for-10 from the charity stripe. He had four rebounds and two blocks in the win. English's 10 assists came with no turnovers in 37 minutes of play. Casimir had a season-high 16 points and was 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. He had three assists and two steals. Williams, Much and junior Jordan Washington each scored 12 points. Washington had a team-high eight rebounds. He played just 16 minutes due to foul trouble and his inside presence in the first half opened up the game for the Gaels perimeter attack. William’s had four assists with no turnovers and two rebounds. Much shot 4-of-6 from the field, all attempts were from beyond the arc. Bessick and grad student Aaron Rountree added six points each off the bench.
All five of Delaware’s starters posted double-digit scoring totals. Marvin King Davis led the way with 16 points and five rebounds. Kory Holden had 10 points and eight assists.
A big key for the Gaels besides their torrid shooting was their 23-to-10 assist-to-turnover ratio in the win.
Iona has 11 days off prior to its next contest. The Gaels host Fairfield on Dec. 1 and seek to tie the program record for consecutive home wins.