NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The Iona College men’s basketball team erased a double-digit first half deficit for the second straight game and used a strong second half to top Canisius 86-78 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action on Senior Day at the Hynes Center. The Gaels closed out the 2015-16 regular season with a 16-4 mark in MAAC play and earned the No. 2 seed in next weekend’s conference tournament in Albany. Prior to the game, Iona honored its five seniors including A.J. English, Ibn Muhammad, Aaron Rountree, Isaiah Williams and manager John Kiggins.
English had a dominant second half scoring 22 of his game-high 25 points in the frame. He added seven assists and seven rebounds with a steal in 31 minutes of action. He shot 8-of-18 from the field with three three-point field goals.
Sophomore Deyshonee Much complemented his teammate with 22 points with the help of a 4-for-6 effort from distance. Much recorded a career-high nine rebounds, falling one shy of his first collegiate double-double. Junior Jordan Washington shot 6-of-10 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line to account for his 15 points, 13 of which came in the first half for the Gaels.
Muhammad and Rountree posted eight points apiece in the win. Muhammad was 3-for-4 from the field with three assists and two three-pointers. Rountree posted four assists, three blocks and a steal. While Williams was quiet in the scoring column, he had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Maroon & Gold.
Canisius was led by a strong performance from Kassius Robertson. He poured in 24 points and connected on 6-of-10 three-point attempts.
Iona trailed by as many as 11 points on two occasions in the first half. The Griffs’ Chris Atkinson put the visitors ahead 31-20 at the 5:03 mark with a three-pointer. The Gaels outscored Canisius 13-4 over the next 3:47 to get within two points on a Muhammad three-ball. Five straight points for Canisius was counteracted by a transition layup by Muhammad as time expired in the first half and saw Iona trailing 45-40 at the break.
The Griffs’ largest lead of the second half was eight less than four minutes in. Traling 60-55 with 11:38 to play, the Gaels scored 15 straight points to open a 10 point, 70-60 just 4:55 later. Canisius closed within five points in the final minute but would not get any closer as the final margin was 86-78.
The Gaels out shot (52.6%-40.3%), out rebounded (46-32) and held a 21-16 assist advantage over the Griffs in the win.
The two teams could face each other again Friday as the No. 2 Iona squad awaits an opponent in its quarterfinal matchup to be determined in the opening round between No. 7 Canisius and No. 10 Niagara. Tip off on Friday is 9:30 pm at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY. For ticket information contact the Iona ticket office at 914-633-2491 or email@example.com.