Iona Gaels Begin MAAC Championship Defense Tonight in New Rochelle

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Iona College men’s basketball team (3-2, 0-0 MAAC) begins its MAAC title defense in its 2013-14 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener at the Hynes Center. The Gaels host Marist (0-7, 0-0 MAAC), the last opponent to walk out victorious in New Rochelle. Iona will unveil its 2013 MAAC Championship and NCAA Tournament banners prior to tipoff.
 The two teams meet for the 55th time in history. Iona holds a 37-16 advantage. Marist snapped an eight-game losing streak in a 105-104 double overtime thriller that saw a 3/4 court buzzer beater by Chavaughn Lewis to force the extra frame. Iona is 9-2 vs. the Red Foxes since being eliminated from the MAAC Championship in 2009 and 14-8 all-time at the Hynes Center.
 Since the inception of the MAAC in the 1981-82 season, Iona has compiled a 303-207 (.594) record in regular season conference play. The Gaels’ 303 wins and .594 winning percentage are the highest of any current MAAC member. The Gaels became the first MAAC team to reach 300 wins on Jan. 27, 2013 at Loyola and are currently 58 ahead of Fairfield the No. 2 team on the list.
 The Gaels were 8-1 in home MAAC contests in 2012-13. Iona’s 24-3 mark at the Hynes Center under head coach Tim Cluess is the best three-year stretch in school history. The Gaels overall record in home conference games is an outstanding 174-76 (.696).
 • Senior Tre Bowman scored a career-high 29 points while the Gaels shot nearly 56 percent from the field and hit 14 three point field goals in a 90-72 win over 2013 Sweet 16 darling Florida Gulf Coast University.
 • Senior Sean Armand added 20 points, while sophomore A.J. English had 13 points and six assists.
 • Iona reached double-digits in three-point field goals for the second time in three games and the 31st time in 109 games under fourth-year head coach Tim Cluess.
 • The Gaels continue their “mid-major gauntlet” non-conference schedule following two MAAC contests this week. After slaying George Mason and Florida Gulf Coast in its last two contests, Iona hosts St. Bonaventure (A10) next Saturday before traveling to Dayton (A10), Nevada (MWC) and Northern Iowa (MVC) over winter break from classes.
 • Seniors Tre Bowman and Sean Armand were back-to-back MAAC Players of the Week for their performances in Iona’s last three games. It’s just the 10th time in history the Gaels’ earned two straight MAAC Players of the Week and first time since Scott Machado and Mike Glover accomplished the feat on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 2011.
 • Sophomore A.J. English has thrived in his new role as starting point guard averaging 15.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 4.0 apg over the last three games. He had a career-high 21 points at No. 2 Kansas three games ago.
 • Armand’s scored 30 points for the third time in his career to lead Iona to a 89-73 win over George Mason in a contest were the team never trailed.
 • Armand’s four three pointers allowed him to surpass Steve Burtt Jr.’s career record of 263, sealing his status as Iona’s “Three-Point King”. Armand also holds the single-season (112, 2012-13) and single-game (10, vs. Siena, 1/3/12).
 • In its home opener, Iona shot 68.0% from the field in the second half in a 76-55 win over Wofford at the Hynes Center. Armand scored 20 points and sophomore Isaiah Williams had 19 points with five three pointers and eight rebounds in the win.
 • The 2013-14 Gaels were selected second in the MAAC Preseason Poll as voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches.
 • Senior Sean Armand and junior David Laury were named to the Preseason All-MAAC First Team.
 • Iona’s “dynamic duo” is joined by five other returnees in seniors Tre Bowman and DaShawn Gomez, junior Tavon Sledge, sophomore A.J. English, and red shirt freshman Grant Ellis.
 • Iona’s six newcomers are highlighted by transfers Mike Poole and Isaiah Williams. Poole is a senior transfer from Rutgers University and earned a legislative relief waiver from the NCAA to play in 2013-14. Williams played for new assistant coach Brock Erickson at State College Florida Manatee in 2012-13.
 • Other newcomers include sophomore Britton Williams (transfer from CSU Bakersfield) and freshmen Ryden Hines, Daniel Robinson and Shackquiel Scott.
 • A seventh newcomer, sophomore Kelvin Amayo must sit out the 2013-14 campaign after transferring from Marshall.
 • Iona is the 12th program to lead the nation in scoring in back-to-back seasons since 1940. They follow VMI who won five straight scoring titles from 2006-2011.
 • No team among the 14 NYC Metropolitan Area Division I basketball programs within 30 miles of the center of NY College basketball, Madison Square Garden has won more games than Iona College in the last 19 season (326; Hofstra #2, 312)
 • In 2012-13, the Gaels tied for the most wins and second best win percentage its the Metro Area compatriots, the second straight season Iona accomplished the feat.
 • Since 2009-10, Iona’s 94 wins and .671 win pct. are the highest in both categories.
 • Since 1995-96, Iona holds the lead in wins (327, 15 more than Hofstra and 30 more than No. 3 St. John’s and the top win percentage (.575).
 • Iona scored 100 points four times in 2011-12, matching a single-season program record. Iona is 7-1 under Cluess and 48-3 all-time when reaching 100.
 • The Gaels scored 90 points 25 times in 103 games under Cluess and are 21-5.
 • Iona is 47-8 when reaching at least 80 points under Cluess.
 • Iona has posted a 47-8 record at the Hynes Center in the last four-plus years.
 • They are 2-0 in 2013-14, 11-1 in 2012-13, 10-1 in 2011-12, 12-3 in 2010-11 and 11-3 in 2009-10.
 • Iona has won 23 of its last 25 home contests and including eight straight non-conference home games.
 • Both defeats during the stretch were due in part to three-pointers that beat the buzzer (vs. MAN, 1/12/12; vs. MAR, 2/7/13).
 • With its decisive 90-72 win at FGCU, Iona snapped a seven-game losing streak in true road games dating back to Jan. 31, 2103.
 • Excluding its 20-point defeat at Kansas during the stretch, the average margin of defeat was just 2.3 ppg.
 • The stretch included one point defeats at Manhattan and Indiana State, a two point loss at Fairfield, and back-to-back three-point defeats at Niagara and Canisius.
 • Following an 11-4 mark on the road in 2011-12, Iona was just 5-9 last season, despite out scoring its opponents overall.
 • Iona has been honored 21 times in the last three-plus seasons with a MAAC Player of the Week.
 • Senior Tre Bowman was most recently named on Dec. 2 after scoring a career-high 29 points at FGCU.
 • Senior Sean Armand earned the honor a week prior (Nov. 25) for his performances at Kansas and vs. George Mason. It was his second career award.
 • Junior David Laury was one of three Iona players to earn MAAC Player of the Week in 2012-13 with his first career award on Feb. 4.
 • Sophomore A.J. English has earned three Rookie of the Week honors.
 • Lamont Jones and English earned Player and Rookie honors on Dec. 17, believed to be the first time an Iona player earned both awards in the same week.
 • The Gaels are 37-6 in games decided by 10 or more points since head coach Tim Cluess took the reigns in 2010-11.
 • The six losses include Kansas in 2013-14, Ohio State and LaSalle in 2012-13, Marshall and Fairfield in 2011-12 and Cleveland State in 2010-11.
 • The Kansas defeat was just the fifth loss by 15 points or more for Cluess as an NCAA head coach.
 • In his six-plus seasons, Cluess has mentored his team to a 109-13 mark in 10+ point contests.
 • With four three-point field goals vs. George Mason, senior Sean Armand became Iona’s all-time career leader in the statistic, now with 269.
 • He and Steve Burtt ‘06 (263) are the only two players in Iona history to reach the 200 trifecta milestone.
 • Armand also holds the single-game (10) Iona record, Hynes Center single-game record (9) and single-season record (112).
 • Since 2000-01, Iona has recorded 42 games with 10 or more three-point field goals. Five came in the seven seasons under head coach Jeff Ruland and seven came with Kevin Willard at the helm (three years).
 • Under Tim Cluess, Iona has posted 31 games (two in 2013-14) with double-digit trifectas including a matching a school record 18 twice (at Albany, Nov. 23, 2010; vs. Liberty, Dec. 18, 2012).
 • Iona’s top eight three-point field goal efforts have come with Cluess as head coach.
 • Against Liberty, Iona’s 41 three-point attempts set a new standard.
 The Gaels continue MAAC play Sunday (Dec. 8) when they travel to Bridgeport to take on Fairfield University. The two teams will meet for the 100th time in history in the contest.
 Iona College (3-2, 0-0 MAAC; RPI: 78) vs. Marist (0-7, 0-0 MAAC; RPI: 326)
 New Rochelle, NY – Hynes Center
 Wednesday, December 4, 2013 – 7:00 pm ET
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 12/1: Iona College 90, Florida Gulf Coast 72 (Fort Myers, FLA)
 11/25: Morgan State 74, Marist 67 OT (St. Thomas, USVI)
 Iona has won two in a row, five straight home games and 22 of its last 22 at the Hynes Center; Marist has lost seven straight to start its season.