Gaels rally to beat Quinnipiac in Double OT thriller

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

The Iona College men’s basketball team 82-78 victory over Quinnipiac on Friday evening came in the most entertaining yet unnecessary way.

Iona (14-9, 8-3 MAAC) was holding onto a 67-60 with less than a minute remaining in the second half until Quinnipiac (9-14, 6-5 MAAC) flipped the script thanks to poor free throw shooting by Iona down the stretch and clutch scoring from senior Cameron Young and freshman Josh Rigoni.

After Iona graduate transfer TK Edogi ignited the already rambunctious Hynes Center crowd with a dunk that put the Gaels up by 69-66, Young nailed a three-pointer to tie the game with 3.9 seconds left and made Iona’s second half surge a thing of the past.

“I thought we were giving [Quinnipiac] golden opportunities to win or tie the game in regulation,” Iona head coach Tim Cluess said. “Sometimes when we give a game away, you don’t find a way to win.”

Iona started its second overtime game in four days trailing by six points, but junior Roland Griffin and senior Deyshonee Much helped stage a comeback that put the Gaels up 79-77 with 29 seconds left. However, a layup by Quinnipiac’s Chaise Daniels at the six second mark sent the game into double overtime.

“It was a war,” McGill said. “Both teams came out playing aggressive and fought.”

Fatigue came into play during the second overtime as both teams were scoreless for the three minutes. The scoring drought was broken by Iona sophomore guard EJ Crawford, who went 3-10 from the floor, drove to the rim for a layup that put Iona on top 81-79 with 1:29 remaining. Griffin, who tallied 42 minutes of playing time off the bench, hit a turnaround jumper to give Iona a three-point advantage.

“I was trying to stay aggressive,” Griffin said. “Trying to make the shot or get to the free throw line.”

Quinnipiac managed to cut the deficit to one point, but the Bobcats’ luck from behind the arc ran out as a missed three-point attempt by Rigoni allowed the Gaels to hold on to the lead and relieve fans from two hours of madness.

“We had to play one possession at a time,” Cluess said. “We had a to get good offensive possessions and make a couple of stops.”

Griffin registered 20 points and nine rebounds, while McGill had an all-around game, 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.

“Roland is starting to play better over the last couple of games,” Cluess said. “He is a terrific player and brings a lot of energy and defends multiple positions.”

Junior guard Schadrac Casimir scored 14 points in 48 minutes, which was a team high. Graduate transfer Zach Lewis had 11 points off the bench and kept the Gaels offense afloat in the first half when the rest of the team was struggling to get anything going.

Iona, the second best three point shooting team in the MAAC, was limited to five three-pointers on 16 attempts.

“[Quinnipiac] did a good job getting out on our three point shooters,” Cluess said. “They didn’t make it easy for us and we didn’t shoot the ball well.”

Young led the way for the Bobcats with 31 points (12-22 FG), 11 rebounds and five assists. Young was a game changer, scoring 29 points in the second half and giving his team enough momentum to stay competitive. Rigoni had 16 points and Daniels tallied 15 points.

“Cameron Young had a great game and Rigoni did a nice job making big shots,” Cluess said. “[Quinnipiac] offensively ran their stuff well and they made it a physical game.”

Iona will have a day off to recover and prepare for its conference road matchup against Marist on Sunday.

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