NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College men's basketball team erased a 12-point second half deficit to force overtime but could not overcome Rhode Island in a 79-74 defeat in non-conference action at the Ryan Center. Sophomore guard Deyshonee Much had a career-high 26 points to lead the Gaels including the game-tying three-pointer with 8.8 seconds in regulation to force the extra frame.
After scoring just two points in the first half on an 0-for-5 shooting performance, Much posted 18 in the second half and five more in overtime to help the Maroon & Gold in its comeback charge. He added six assists, three steals and two rebounds in just shy of 40 minutes of play.
Junior Jordan Washington also rebounded from a tough first half to score 18 points with six boards and a steal before fouling out with less than two seconds to play in regulation.
Senior Isaiah Williams scored all 13 of his points in the first half before inexplicably fouling out with 6:51 left. He picked up four fouls in 45 seconds of playing time in the second half. Williams added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
Senior Ibn Muhammad had a season-best eight points with five assists and four rebounds in a career-high 43 minutes. Graduate Aaron Rountree scored just two points but had a career-high 11 rebounds with four assists, three blocks, two steals and no turnovers in 36 minutes. Rountree also fouled out in the contest with 2:40 to play in the second half. Junior Taylor Bessick added eight points and four rebounds, shooting 4-of-8 from the field.
Iona trailed by eight points at halftime after a poor shooting performance led to just a 26.9% field goal percentage. They shot 50% in both the second half and overtime to finish at 40.6% for the game.
The Gaels were down five points with 1:16 to play. After a missed shot and a defensive stop, Muhammad raced down the floor and was fouled and converted both free throws to make it 64-61 with 22 seconds remaining. Iona got the ball back without the clock moving on a Rhode Island foul. With the clock winding down, Much pump faked two Ram defenders into the air and sank a three ball from the wing to knot the score at 64-64 with 8.8 on the clock. The Rams had a chance to go ahead with less than two seconds remaining. Freshman Nicola Akele was sent to the line on Washington's disqualifying foul and missed them both. Junior Ryden Hines corralled the rebound and his full court heave hit the backboard as time expired.
Iona took its first and only lead of the game, a minute in to the extra period as Much continued his torrid stretch with a three pointer. A free throw and two three-pointers later, Rhode Island scored seven straight points to lead 71-67 with 1:38 left. Bessick converted a screen and roll layup from Much with 1:15 on the clock. The key moment of the game came on the next possession. After graduate Four McGlynn air-balled a three-pointer from the corner, junior Hassan Martin got the rebound, converted the tip in and was fouled to make it a five point game with 45 seconds left. The Rams hit five of their final six free throw attempts in the remaining seconds to hold on to the five point win.
Martin scored a game-high 27 points to go along with nine rebounds, four blocks and three assists. McGlynn, Jarvis Garrett and Jared Terrell each had 12 points in the win. Garrett added nine assists and six rebounds. Junior Kuran Iverson posted eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
The Gaels out shot their opponent, equaled them with 17 assists and had two less turnovers. Rhode Island's 54-38 advantage on the boards led to a 21-4 edge on second chance points and was the major difference in the game.
The Maroon & Gold continues a three-game trip away from New Rochelle with two games in the South Point Holiday Classic in Las Vegas, NV. Iona takes on UC Santa Barbara Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 pm ET and Akron the next day at the same time.