Junior Joseph, Ross amongst top performers for Gaels this week


The Iona College men’s basketball team achieved a season-high 54 points in one half against the Monmouth Hawks in this week’s games. // Photo courtesy of icgaels.com.

Giovanni Paolo Tagliafierro, Staff Writer

The Iona College’s men’s basketball team is back in full swing as the Gaels concluded a packed slate of games this week, finishing the stretch off with a 88-65 win against Monmouth on Saturday.  


The Gaels began with a doubleheader against rivals Manhattan on Feb. 12, a game in which they were victorious 85-67. The team was bolstered by their outside shooting, going 10-21 from deep against the Jaspers. 


Manhattan kept up with Iona for most of the first half, but Iona went on a 29-12 run to close out the period. The Jaspers outscored the Gaels in the second half, but the deficit was too large for them to overcome and Iona cruised to a victory.  


The game featured a solid performance from freshman forward Nelly Junior Joseph and junior guard Berrick JeanLouis, who notched 15 and 16 points, along with eight and seven rebounds respectively. The team benefited from freshman guard Ryan Myers scoring boost off the bench, who accounted for 13 of Iona’s 28 bench points.  


Iona could not match their success from game one in the second matchup with Manhattan on Feb. 13, dropping the rematch at the Hynes Center 77-70.  


Iona was unable to overcome the performance by Manhattan’s junior guard Elijah Buchanan, who scored 26 points and grabbed 13 boards en route to the road victory for the Jaspers.  


The Gaels scoring attack was limited as they weren’t able to carry over their impressive shooting numbers from the night before, going 5-19 from deep. The team also struggled on the boards, allowing 23 second chance points.  


JeanLouis shined for a second straight performance, notching another 16 points and seven rebounds in a game where he played all 40 minutes.  


Senior guard Isaiah Ross scored 18 as Iona’s comeback fell just short in their 74-70 loss at Quinnipiac on Feb. 17. After Iona battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit, senior forward Dylan Van Eyck converted a layup with 10 seconds on the clock to cut Quinnipiac’s lead to just two, but after a quick foul by Iona, the Bobcats sealed the win with two late game free throws.  


The Gaels would get back to their winning ways however during their Friday-Saturday doubleheader sweep against conference leader Monmouth.  


Friday’s game saw the Gaels hold on to a five-point lead in a 91-86 win over Monmouth at the Hynes Center. Iona scored early and often on the Hawks in the first period, leading to a 54-34 lead at halftime. Monmouth guard Deione Hammond scored 19 points in the second half to lead the Monmouth rally, but Iona was able to hold onto the lead and take home the win.  


Although Hammond was stellar, he was not the most impressive player on the floor that night, as Junior Joseph continually made it happen on both ends of the court all game long. The first-year forward from Nigeria totaled 19 points while shooting 9-11 from the field, to go along with 11 rebounds and five blocks. The performance gave Junior Joseph his third double-double of the season.  


Senior guard Asante Gist poured in 18 points and served as the team’s facilitator with five assists.  


Game two of the doubleheader took place on Saturday at the Hynes Center, which saw Iona beating Monmouth by a score of 88-65. The Gaels outscored the Hawks by 10-plus points in both halves on their way to an easy victory. 


The Gaels were able to control the glass against the Hawks, grabbing 49 boards compared to Monmouth’s 29. The strong inside presence combined with Iona’s floor spacing proved to be key, as the Gaels hit a season-high 13 3-point field goals.  


Ross provided the scoring punch for the Gaels, dropping in 31 points and pulling down five rebounds in Saturday’s win. The effort gave Ross his third 30-plus point game of the season and brought his season average for points per game up to 20.5.  


Monmouth currently sits at the top of the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference with a record of 10-6 against conference opponents. Iona’s back-to-back wins against the Hawks pulled the team to within four games of the top spot at 6-3, and a record of 8-5 overall.