NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team continued its torrid scoring stretch to start the 2011-12 campaign, defeating NEC-favorite Long Island 100-84 in non-conference action at the Hynes Center. For just the third time in school history, the Gaels recorded back-to-back games with 100 or more points in defeating the Blackbirds. Senior Mike Glover posted his third-straight double-double with a game-high 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Maroon & Gold.
Iona scored early and often again, leading Long Island 54-38 at halftime. Leading by just four at the 5:53 mark of the first half, the Gaels went on a 21-7 run before a Michael Culpo layup with the clock running out to take the 16-point advantage at the break.
It was the start of the second half where Iona really turned on the jets. The home team scored 33 points in the first 8:04 of the half, doubling its halftime lead to 87-55 on junior Kyle Smyth's jumper at the 11:56 mark. After the under-12 media timeout, the Blackbirds fought their way back to a 19-point deficit with 13 straight points over the next 4:28 but the Gaels proved too much. Glover's layup at 2:56 put Iona ahead 98-74 and a Scott Machado layup on the team's next possession at 2:19 ended the Gaels' scoring at an even triple digit score.
Machado posted his career-best fifth straight double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, shooting 6-for-10 from the field with two three-point daggers. He currently leads all of NCAA Div. I with a 12.2 assists per game average. Junior Taaj Ridley scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half and senior Jermel Jenkins added 13 points off the bench for the Gaels in the win. Smyth had nine points, six assists and four rebounds while junior Lamont Jones posted eight points and matched his career-high with six assists as well.
The Gaels shot an even 50.0% from the field converting 42-of-84 field goal attempts. The 42 makes are the highest for the program in the last 15 seasons. Iona's 28 assists were also the highest since recording a school record 31 vs. La Salle on Feb. 22, 1988. Iona leads the nation in scoring and assists, averaging 94.5 points and 22.6 assists per game through five contests.
Long Island's high-powered offense was led by four players scoring nine or more points. Junior Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and eight rebounds, shooting 8-of-12 from the field. Senior C.J. Garner had 18 points and six assists while junior Julian Boyd added 13 points and nine rebounds.
Following the contest, Iona embarks on one of its longest stretches away from its home court beginning this weekend in the annual Western NY trip to Canisius (Dec. 2) and Niagara (Dec. 4). The nine-game stint also includes trips to Denver (Dec. 7), Marshall (Dec. 11), Richmond (Dec. 14), Vermont (Dec. 17), and William and Mary (Dec. 21) before returning to the tri-state area for a match-up at Hofstra (Dec. 29) and a "home" game vs. Siena at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 3. The Gaels next contest at the Hynes Athletics Center in 39 days on Jan. 6 vs. Niagara.
IN THE MEDIA:
Journal News - Iona men score 100 again, then start long road swing
NY Daily News - Iona basketball continues to roll with big victory over Long Island University
NY Post - Iona Storms Past LIU
CBSSports.com - Scott Machado: the best point guard in the game?
SNY.tv - LIU Coach Says Iona Is a ‘No. 5 Seed’ in NCAAs
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