NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College men's basketball team returns to the World's Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden this upcoming season at the 2017 MSG Holiday Festival on Sunday, December 17. The Gaels are set to take on New York Metropolitan area challenger St. John's in one end of a doubleheader at the event.
For the first time in 22 seasons, Iona is scheduled to face St. John's. The last meeting between the two came on December 27, 1995 in the same event at the Garden with the Gaels earning a 70-57 victory. The Red Storm currently own a 6-3 advantage in the all-time series.
With the campuses located less than 18 miles apart, St. John's and Iona have only faced each other twice in the last four decades. Prior to the 1995 meeting, the Gaels and Red Storm played on December 2, 1992 as St. John's came away with a 90-74 win at the Lapchick Memorial Tournament at then named Alumni Hall in Queens. The two programs also met four times throughout the 1970s that included a 2-1 advantage for the Gaels under head coach Jim Valvano over St. John's legend Lou Carnesecca.
December's contest will mark the 83rd game the Maroon & Gold has played at Madison Square Garden. The program has won four of the last five games played at MSG, including the most recent contest on January 25, 2015; an 87-64 victory against Niagara. It will also be the 16th game played in the MSG Holiday Festival, formerly the ECAC/MSG Holiday Festival, in program history. The Gaels last played in the tournament in 2012 against Rutgers.
The Gaels return four starters from its 2017 MAAC Championship squad. Rising junior Rickey McGill is the team's top returning scorer following a sophomore season that included 10.5 points, 5.1 assists and a team-high 32.1 minutes per-contest. Also among the team's returners are rising senior Deyshonee Much, rising sophomore and 2017 MAAC All-Rookie Team selection E.J. Crawford and rising junior Schadrac Casimir.
Stay tuned to ICGaels.com and follow us on Twitter (@ICGaels/@IonaGaelsMBB) for further details on the 2017 MSG Holiday Festival as well as additions to the 2017-18 schedule for the Maroon & Gold.