NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Iona College men's basketball senior A.J. English scored 11 of his game-high 24 points in the final 8:12, and seven of his team's final 11 points to lead Roger Brown's Restaurant to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament Championship in a thrilling 85-83 victory over Norfolk Sports Club. Roger Brown's trailed by as many as 16 points with less than nine minutes to play and were down seven with 2:30 to play.
English was named the P.I.T.'s Most Valuable Player for his performance in the three-game tournament. He averaged 17.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and a team-high 6.7 assists while shooting 58.1% (18-for-31) from the field, 64.7% (11-for-17) from beyond the arch and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. In the championship game, English added six assists and shot 8-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from long distance.
Down 81-74 with 2:30 left, Roger Brown's came up with a steal followed by an English three-pointer to make the score 81-77. The two teams traded missed shots before a foul sent Richmond's Terry Allen to the line for two free throws to make it a six-point game with 1:48 remaining. Arizona's Ryan Anderson sank two free throws on the next possession after being fouled on a nifty feed from English on pick and roll play and the deficit was 83-79 with 1:38 left.
Roger Brown's came up with a rebound and English went to the line to make it a two-point game just 10 seconds later. Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt missed a field goal attempt on Norfolk Sports Club's next turn and Tulsa's Shaquille Harrison corralled the rebound. English tied the game with 49.8 seconds left with a drive to the hoop and a tip-in on his own miss.
On the next possession, Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre blocked a Georges-Hunt three-pointer from the corner to set up Roger Brown's final turn with less than 30 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, English found Anderson again inside the paint. The Arizona senior was fouled with 3.4 seconds left and drained the game winning free throws to seal the game. Yale's Justin Sears' three-pointer at the buzzer went off the backboard and Roger Brown's Restaurant completed the improbable comeback.
Nebraska's Shavon Shields finished with 15 points, Pierre had 13 and Anderson posted and 11-points, 15-rebound double-double despite shooting 2-for-13 from the field in support of English's effort. Washington's Andrew Andrews posted 17 points and five assists to lead Norfolk Sports Club. Allen added 12, and Georges-Hunt had 12 in the loss.
It is the second straight year an Iona player was a member of the championship team. David Laury scored 13 points off the bench for champion Cherry Bekaert.