KINGSTON, RI - The Iona College men's basketball team could not overcome a torrid Rhode Island first half shooting effort in an 88-75 loss in the National Invitation Tournament First Round matchup at the Ryan Center. Junior A.J. English scored a game high 26 points and senior David Laury added 26 points and 17 rebounds for the Gaels in the loss.
English posted nine rebounds, dished out six assists and had four steals in an iron man effort. He was 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Laury had his 19th double-double of the season and his 11th game with 20+ points and 17+ rebounds. Junior Kelvin Amayo recorded 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists while graduate student Jeylani Dublin netted seven points and grabbed five boards in the loss. Rookie Schadrac Casimir was held to four points while grabbing nine rebounds. Battling an illness which kept him out of practice leading up to the contest junior Isaiah Williams was held scoreless in 24 minutes but had a season-high five blocks.
The Gaels trailed by as many as 17 points with 3:04 to play in the first half before a 7-2 run to end the half got the deficit to 51-39 at the break. Shooting less than 30% for the year from beyond the arc, Rhode Island converted 7-of-13 in the first 20 minutes to earn the double-digit advantage.
The Maroon & Gold got within nine points with 12:39 to play after a conventional three-point play by senior A.J. English. They had a chance to cut it to seven on their next possession but failed to convert on two free throw attempts. Five straight points by the Rams built their lead back to 14 points at the midway point of the frame. Rhode Island's largest advantage of the contest was 19 points with 2:22 remaining.
Rhode Island had five players in double figures led by E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell's 18 points apiece. Jarvis Garrett had 10 points and 10 assists while Biggie Minnis had 13 and T.J. Buchannan had 10 in the win. Both Hassan Martin and Earl Watson recorded 11 rebounds.
The Gaels were outshot 39.7%-33.8% and out rebounded 54-52.
The Maroon & Gold finish the 2014-15 campaign with a 26-9 overall mark. The program matched its third highest win total in program history, the most since a 27-6 mark in 1997-98. The program record remains 29 victories set by a Jim Valvano and Jeff Ruland led 1979-80 squad. Iona also won 26 games in 1984-85. Iona has recorded six straight and 19 all-time 20+ win seasons in the 74-year history of the program. It is the longest 20+ win seasons stretch in Iona history with the previous high being four straight from 1981-85. The Gaels have played in a postseason tournament in all five seasons under head coach Tim Cluess, another unprecedented run.