Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
How They Qualified: MAAC Tournament Champions
For a second consecutive season, the Iona Gaels are dancing in March. Led be senior point guard Lamont “MoMo” Jones, the Gaels advanced through the bracket within the MAAC Tournament by defeating Canisius, top seeded Niagara, and then Manhattan in the conference title game. Iona defeated the Jaspers by a final score of 60-57, toughing out a victory despite playing outside of their comfort zone in terms of the style of play.
Iona is once again known for its high-powered offense, ranking second in the nation this season in point per game (81.3). Prior to last season, the Gaels had not qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2006, but this year marks back-to-back appearances in the Big Dance.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: Lamont Jones (23.3 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: David Laury (10.6 rpg)
Leading Passer: Lamont Jones (3.6 apg)
Bad Losses: Quinnipiac, St. Peter’s,Marist
Good Wins: Wake Forest, Georgia, Niagara (twice)
Credit the play of Lamont “MoMo” Jones who has progressed into one of the elite scorers in the country this season. Jones is surely the catalyst that makes this high-powered offense go and with that comes the dangerous aspect of this team. Any team that can score the ball and put up points like Iona can, could potentially cause match-up problems for opposing defenses if they are not ready to slow them down in transition.
A season ago, Iona burst onto the scene in the First Four round, lighting things up from the field early on. However, the Gaels fell apart in the second half, succumbing to BYU in that contest. This year marks anew though, as Iona looks to make some noise here in March.
The Iona Gaels are dancing!
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS