By Kevin Sweeney
The first half was Iona’s lowest scoring half of the season. St. Peter’s had imposed their grind-it-out style, and the Peacocks appeared to be in control.
The Gaels responded with a 17-0 run early in the second half to take a lead they would never concede, and advanced to their 5th consecutive MAAC championship game tomorrow night vs Siena.
As I previously mentioned, the first half was a struggle for the Gaels. They were held without a field goal for the final 8:49 of the opening period, while first-team all-MAAC center Quadir Welton did work down low for the Peacocks. Coming off a career-high 25 points yesterday, Iona point guard Rickey McGill was held scoreless in the opening period and committed 3 personal fouls. However, the Gaels were still within just 4 at the break thanks to the hot shooting of Deyshonne Much, who had 11 first half points.
After St. Peter’s scored the first 4 points of the second half, it was pretty much all Gaels. They went on the 17-0 run led by a 3-point barrage to turn a 9 point deficit into a 10 point lead, causing St. Peter’s head coach John Dunne to use 2 timeouts.
From there, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Peacocks, who aren’t known for their offensive prowess. They cut it to 2 a few times, but in the end couldn’t make enough shots to match Iona down the stretch.
Welton and Trevis Wyche each had 18 points for the 19-13 Peacocks, who would be an excellent candidate for a “3rd tier” postseason tournament should they be interested.
The Gaels put 4 players in double figures, with Sam Cassell Jr. leading the way with 17 points. Jordan Washington had 15 points, while Much had 13 and Jon Severe had 11.
The Iona win sets up a matchup with Siena tomorrow night in a “road” game for the Gaels. It should be an INCREDIBLE atmosphere at the Times Union Center tomorrow.