WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Iona College men's basketball team held off a late comeback attempt in an 85-81 victory over Wake Forest in non-conference action at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. With the win, head coach Tim Cluess improves to 3-0 against Atlantic Coast Conference competition in his four-plus seasons with the Gaels.
Junior guard A.J. English poured in a season-high 27 points, shooting 9-of-18 from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. He hit three clutch three-point field goals in the second half to limit a Wake Forest run while adding eight rebounds, five assists and three steals in 36 minutes of action. Junior guard Isaiah Williams posted his first double-double at Iona with 15 points and 10 rebounds, draining four three pointers and adding four assists, two steals and a block. Rookie guard Schadrac Casimir added 12 points while senior forward David Laury had 11 points and seven rebounds and junior guard Kelvin Amayo had 10 points, four rebounds and four assists in the win. Sophomore forward Ryden Hines provided a spark on both ends of the floor for the Gaels scoring seven points including two second half three-pointers that helped the Maroon & Gold hold off the Demon Deacons.
The Gaels held their largest lead of the opening frame on their last field goal in the final minute, a mid-range jumper by Casimir. Trailing by two at the 11:23 mark, Iona scored seven straight points capped by a Laury layup at 9:26 and took the lead for good.
Casimir gave Iona its first double-digit advantage with 17:18 to play after a steal and fast break layup made the score 50-39. The Gaels led by as many as 13 points on English's three from the win with 7:07 left. Down by 11 with 4:30 to play, Wake Forest chipped away and got within two points with less than 25 seconds remaining after taking advantage of Iona's missed free throws. Following Codi Miller-McIntyre's layup to pull within 81-79, the Demon Deacon's called a timeout they didn't have sending the Gaels to the line for two techincal free throws. After fouling on the ensuing inbound, Iona led 83-79 as English and Hines each converted 1-of-2 attempts. The Gaels led by five following a Wake turnover and a Laury free throw with 17 ticks left. Iona held off the charge and came out with an 85-81 win.
Miller-McIntyre posted 20 points on 9-of-23 shooting for the home team. Darius Leonard scored all 13 of his points in the first half, draining his first four three-point attempts. Devin Thomas posted his third straight double-double with 12 points and 18 rebounds while Dinos Mitoglou had a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double.
The Gaels complete a three-game road trip Sunday at North Texas in the second of four games in the BD Global Sports Roundball Showcase.