Men’s basketball wins sixth MAAC championship in last eight


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Four Gaels from the championship team are in the transfer portal after Rick Pitino accepted the Saint John’s job.  

Jordan Score, Staff Writer

The Iona men’s basketball team won the 2023 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship on March 11, taking down Marist College 76-55 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  

The Gaels came into the tournament as the number one seed after finishing the regular season with a record of 24-7. Just after the Iona women’s basketball team won their second ever MAAC Championship, the men’s team followed the victory up with their own win, achieving their sixth MAAC Championship in eight years.   

Iona recorded its league record 14th MAAC Championship title beating Marist College. 

 From the opening tip the Gaels never trailed in the game controlling the entire opening half. During the second half, the Red Foxes battled back tying the score up at forty-six apiece before Iona outscored Marist College 30-9 leading to the 76-55 victory. 

 Junior Dannis Jenkins was named the MAAC Championship’s most outstanding performer, putting up 27 points while making a career-best six three pointers. He also added five rebounds and contributed on defense with two steals in the championship game.  

Sophomore Walter Clayton Jr. posted 17 points while leading the Gaels in assists with four. Junior Nelly Junior Joseph played the most minutes for Iona, leading the team in rebounds with 11 and blocks with four while also scoring nine points throughout the game.  

Iona battled Niagara University in the semifinal round on March 10 beating the Purple Eagles  71-59, to sending them to the championship game.  

The game was close for the first thirty minutes before Iona created separation with a 12-2 run over a five-minute span leading to the win. Clayton Jr led the team with 22 points while pulling down six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Junior Joseph and Jenkins recorded double digit points scoring 16 and 14 respectively. 

The Gaels opened the MAAC Tournament on March 8 with a win over Mount St. Mary’s by a score of 74-54 in the Quarterfinal Round. Four players for Iona scored double digits. Clayton Jr scored the most points leading the team with 21 as senior Osborn Shema had 17, Jenkins had 15 and Junior Joseph put up 10. Junior Joseph and Clayton Jr both finished with a double-double as they each had 11 rebounds. Jenkins led the team in assists with seven and steals with three. 

Following the Championship Game, Iona prepared to face off against the University of Connecticut in March Madness on March 17 in Albany. Iona held a two-point advantage after the first half. Ultimately, Iona fell to UConn by a score of 87-63 to close out their playoff run.