Iona struggles to find consistency

Iona junior guard Schadrac Casimir recorded his 1,000th career point against Siena on Feb. 12.

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

As the Iona College men’s basketball season is nearing its end, and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is on the horizon, the Gaels haven’t played their best brand of basketball, dropping three of the last four games.

The team, which sits in fourth place in the MAAC Standings with a 17-13 and 10-6 conference record, understands that its struggle to get consistent play especially in close games has been one of the reason for the rollercoaster season.

“We have had an up-and-down season,” Iona head coach Tim Cluess said. “Trying to strive for consistency has been tough for this group.”

The Gaels has had opportunities to win more games than their record shows. However, Iona is having a difficult time making plays when needed the most.

“For most of the games, we have brought good effort,” Cluess said. “The one game against Monmouth, I thought our effort wasn’t good. Consistently making plays at both ends of the court has been a struggle for us.”

Iona’s game against Niagara on Feb. 18 was a prime example of this lack of consistency, as the Gaels blew a 12-point lead and went 1-10 from the three point line during the second half a crucial 85-84 loss.

“We have given ourselves opportunities,” Cluess said. “But we don’t have that close player because all those players have graduated.”

Iona added seven players to its roster, which also features six returning players.

Even though the Gaels has shown their offensive potential, they are still looking for someone to step up and make big plays late in games.

“We figured that was going to be one of our issues going into the season,” Cluess said. “We were hoping as the season moved along, we were going to get better in those areas. Guys are trying to figure it out and step up. Certain games we were able to do it and other games we did not.”

Cluess has noticed junior guards Rickey McGill and Schadrac Casimir continuing to develop as leaders on the team. Cluess stressed the importance of McGill and Casimir’s leadership especially heading into the MAAC Tournament.

“Between Rickey and [Casimir], there is more leadership between them than years past,” Cluess said. “For the last month or so, I have seen more of that out of them and it will help our team if they continue.”

Casimir, who is averaging nine points per game, knows the season hasn’t gone according to plan, but he is confident that they can finish strong with the talent they possess.

“We have a lot of guys on the team, who can go for 20 on any given night,” Casimir said.

Cluess wants his players to move on from the recent cold streak and continue working to develop some form of momentum before the conference playoffs.

“We are not far off record wise from last year,” Cluess said. “That’s the reality of it. We’ve had our ups and downs last year too. It’s whether if you can get on a good swing when the playoffs come. Whoever makes shots is winning the tournament and if you look around the league that’s how it goes.”

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