NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Iona College men’s basketball team cut a 21-point second half deficit to one in the final minute but fell short in an 84-79 loss to Vermont in non-conference action at the Hynes Center. Junior Scott Machado (Queens, NY) scored a team-high 17 points for the Gaels (7-5) in the loss.
The two teams traded leads over the first 13 minutes of the contest. Junior Mike Glover’s (Bronx, NY) layup cut Vermont’s (8-3) early lead to 22-21 with 7:50 remaining. The Catamounts built a double-digit lead with a 22-5 run and led by as many as 18 at the 2:09 mark. Senior Rashon Dwight’s (Newark, NJ) two free throws and another Glover layup put the deficit at 44-30 entering halftime.
Vermont built its largest lead of the contest at 67-46 with 10:42 remaining. The Maroon & Gold scored the next 11 points of the contest over the next three and a half minutes to get to within 10 at the 8:10 mark. Down eight points with 92 seconds left, a Dwight layup, a Kyle Smyth (River Edge, NJ) three pointer and a Machado layup with 16 ticks on the clock made the score 80-79. Two free throws for the Catamounts put the visitors up three. Smyth’s game-tying three-point attempt fell short with less than five seconds left as Vermont hit two more from the charity stripe to secure the five-point victory.
Machado’s 17 points came with the assistance of an 8-for-9 performance from the free throw line. He posted five rebounds and four assists. Glover had his seventh-straight double-double double with 14-points and 13 rebounds. Dwight had 12 points off the bench while Smyth and rookie Sean Armand (Brooklyn, NY) each had 11. Armand reached the double-digit mark for the first time this season, setting a career-high with his 11 points and three three-pointers. Senior Alejo Rodriguez (New York, NY) added eight points and nine rebounds.
Vermont was led by senior guard Joey Accaoui’s game-high 23 points. He hit five three-pointers including three in a row in the Catamounts decisive first half run. Leading scorer Evan Fjeld had 19 points and 11 rebounds while Iona Prep graduate Brian Voekel posted seven points with a team-best 13 boards and nine assists.
Vermont shot 9-for-19 from behind the arc and out rebounded Iona 48-38. The Gaels had a season-low nine turnovers in the loss. The team snapped a six-game home winning streak and lost a non-conference game at home for the first time since Nov. 29, 2008 against Robert Morris.
Iona completes the 2010 portion of their schedule next Wednesday (Dec. 29) after the Christmas holiday. The Maroon & Gold hosts Metro area rival Hofstra at the Hynes Center at 7:30 pm.