NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Iona College men’s basketball head coach Tim Cluess announced his 2016 non-conference schedule. The Gaels face 11 challenging opponents across five time zones in preparation for their MAAC Championship defense in 2017. Six of the 11 games take place in the Pacific and Alaska Time Zones while the program also has an opportunity to play six opponents for the first-time in history.
“We look forward to another challenging non-conference schedule as we prepare for an always tough MAAC season,” said Cluess. “While it was particularly difficult to find opponents to come to New Rochelle, five neutral site games and four games in our opponent’s building gives us an opportunity to test ourselves early with the new faces in our program this season.”
Iona begins its 2016-17 campaign Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the ACC’s Florida State and the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. The Gaels take on the Seminoles for the second time in history and the first time since the 2009 Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Florida State edged Iona 54-49 in the two teams’ opener on Thanksgiving night seven years ago.
The Maroon & Gold then embarks on a four-game, seven-day trip which takes them to Reno, NV and Anchorage, AK as part of the 2016 GCI Great Alaska Shootout. Iona renews its burgeoning rivalry with the Mountain West’s Nevada on Sunday, Dec. 20 at Lawlor Events Center. The two teams square off for the third time in history, all in the last six seasons. Iona and Nevada split a home-and-home series created by the former ESPN Bracketbusters event. The Gaels took the opener in New Rochelle, 90-84 on Feb. 18, 2012 before the Wolf Pack evened the series with an 80-72 win on Dec. 22, 2013.
Four days later, the Gaels head to Anchorage for its fourth appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout, and first since 1988. As previously announced in June, Iona faces Drake on Thanksgiving (Nov. 24). The second contest is Nov. 25 against either Weber State or UC Davis and action concludes Saturday (Nov. 26) against host Alaska Anchorage, Buffalo, Nevada or Oakland. Iona has never faced Oakland or any of its first two potential opponents. The Gaels are 0-1 vs. Anchorage, 1-1 vs. Nevada and 4-4 vs. Buffalo.
After returning to the East Coast, the Gaels begin MAAC play with two games during the annual early December MAAC weekend. The yet to be announced contests feature Iona’s home opener and take place between Dec. 1-5.
The Maroon & Gold then takes a quick trip across the George Washington Bridge to Teaneck, NJ and Fairleigh Dickinson. The two teams meet for the 28th time on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Iona holds a 16-11 series advantage after taking the last four meetings including both ends of a home-and-home in 2009 and 2010. Although they have met 27 previous times, the Gaels and Knights have only faced each other three times in the last 33 seasons.
Iona then has a two-game home stand on Saturday, Dec. 10 and Wednesday, Dec. 14. Iona hosts Ohio University and NJIT respectively at the Hynes Center marking the first time in history the Maroon & Gold faces either opponent.
The FDU, Ohio and NJIT contests all begin a multi-year series with Iona.
Iona heads back to Nevada after finals and before the Christmas holiday when they compete for the second straight season at South Point Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Casino in Las Vegas. The Gaels take on UC Santa Barbara in the first game on Dec. 21. The Gauchos topped the Maroon & Gold 80-76 last season in the same event. Iona completes its Vegas trip the next day vs. Towson, in the first ever meeting between the two squads.
Iona’s final non-conference contest is on the road at Delaware on Wednesday, Dec. 28. The Gaels and Blue Hens complete a home-and-home series and meet for the sixth time overall. Iona has won the previous five meetings.
The Maroon & Gold return five players from its 2016 MAAC Championship squad led by senior Jordan Washington and junior Deyshonee Much. Washington was an All-MAAC Second Team performer in 2015-16 while averaging 14.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Much is another returning double-digit scorer, posting 13.0 ppg with 80 three-point field goals at a 44.7% conversion rate in his first season with the Gaels.
2016-17 IONA COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
|Nov. 15||Tue.||at Florida State||Tallahassee, FL||TBA|
|GCI Great Alaska Shootout|
|Nov. 20||Sun.||at Nevada||Reno, NV||TBA|
|Nov. 24||Thu.||vs. Drake||Anchorage, AK||TBA|
|Nov. 25||Fri.||vs. Weber State / UC Davis||Anchorage, AK||TBA|
|Nov. 26||Sat.||vs. Great Alaska Shootout||Anchorage, AK||TBA|
|Dec. 1-5||Thu.-Mon.||MAAC December Weekend||HOME/AWAY||TBA|
|Dec. 7||Wed.||at Fairleigh Dickinson||Teaneck, NJ||TBA|
|Dec. 10||Sat.||OHIO||New Rochelle, NY||TBA|
|Dec. 14||Wed.||NJIT||New Rochelle, NY||TBA|
|South Point Holiday Hoops Classic|
|Dec. 21||Wed.||vs. UC Santa Barbara||Las Vegas, NV||TBA|
|Dec. 22||Thu.||vs. Towson||Las Vegas, NV||TBA|
|Dec. 28||Wed.||at Delaware||Newark, DE||TBA|