NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Graduate guard Sam Cassell Jr. delivered 15 points and seven assists to power a big second-half surge for Iona College men’s basketball team on Thursday as the Gaels outlasted Drake, 64-53, for a first-round victory in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Maroon & Gold ended the game on a 14-1 run. Iona faces Weber State tomorrow at 12:00 am ET in the tournament’s second semifinal. The game can be seen on tape delay at 2:00 am ET on CBS Sports Network.
Junior Deyshonee Much came off the bench to score 14 points with six assists and a career-high six steals. Graduate student Jon Severe scored all 14 of his points in the second half. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and 4-of-8 from distance and personally helped erase a 10-point deficit in the final frame. Trailing 38-28, Severe sank three straight three-pointers for a personal 9-0 run, and then drained another for a 42-41 lead. Senior Jordan Washington posted 13 points and five rebounds in the win.
Drake junior Reed Timmer scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds. Timmer gave the Bulldogs the lead at 52-50 on a three-pointer with 6:08 remaining; however the team would not make another field goal the rest of the way. De’Antae McMurray posted a season-high 12 points in the loss.
Cassell tied it with a jumper at the 5:46 mark, and Taylor Bessick grabbed an offensive rebound that led to his only basket of the game, a go-ahead layup with 4:03 remaining. Cassell found sophomore Rickey McGill open for another corner trey on Iona’s next possession, and the Maroon & Gold would ice it from there.
Iona out shot Drake 42.9% – $41.9% for the contest. The Gaels had 20 assists and just 11 turnovers and converted 12-of-35 three-point field goal attempts.