NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Graduate guards Sam Cassell Jr. and Jon Severe combined for 34 points Friday to lead the Iona College men’s basketball team into the 2016 GCI Great Alaska Shootout title game with a 76-54 semifinal victory over Weber State at the Alaska Airlines Center. The Gaels face Nevada for the championship in a rematch of last Sunday’s shootout in Reno.
Severe scored 16 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting with five rebounds, six assists and just one turnover. Cassell had 18 points and a pair of assists. Freshman E.J. Crawford made all three of his three-point tries, adding 11 points off the bench to help Iona prevail in a battle of 2016 NCAA Tournament teams.
The Wildcats got 12 points off the bench from guard Dusty Baker, but the rest of his teammates combined to shoot just 14-of-39 overall and 3-of-15 from long range. Meanwhile, Iona connected on 13-of-25 three-pointers (.520) and committed only six turnovers.
Iona and Nevada play for the title Sunday morning at 12:30 am ET in a game nationally televised on CBS Sports Network. The only MAAC program ever to advance to the championship game in the 39-year-old tournament, the Gaels are returning for the first time since the third Shootout in 1979, when the No. 19 ranked Maroon & Gold squad lost 57-50 to No. 4 Kentucky for the gold pan.