Iona’s late comeback falls short in 84-82 loss to Canisius

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

The Iona College men’s basketball team dropped to second place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings after falling to Canisius 84-82 on Saturday afternoon.

“We had a lot of breakdowns,” Iona head coach Tim Cluess said. “In the last two games, we did not effectively execute what we wanted to and teams took advantage of it. I’m proud of our guys for not giving up, but sooner or later it’s going to bite you.”

Gaels’ (12-8, 6-2 MAAC) junior guard Rickey McGill posted a double-double, 14 points, five rebounds and 12 assists. Graduate transfer TK Edogi’s 16 points and 10 rebound performance was the sixth time he notched a double-double this season.

Sophomore guard E.J. Crawford registered 15 points, while senior Deyshonee Much added 18 points on 8-12 shooting.

Both teams went back and forth during the opening minutes of the first half. Canisius (13-8, 7-1) then went on a 16-2 scoring run–which was led by Jibreel Faulkner–to take a 26-18 lead with nine minutes to go in the first half.

Iona used a 7-0 run cut into the deficit, but the Golden Griffs’ three-point shooting kept them on top. Canisius made 11 of their 15 three-pointers in the first half.

Iona managed to take its first lead since 11:15 mark of the first half when junior guard Schadrac Casimir knocked down a three-pointer that gave the Gaels a 59-58 advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the game.

Canisius made an attempt to run away with the game when the Golden Griffs took a 10-point with less six minutes remaining in regulation.

McGill helped stage a late run as he attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line and getting his teammates involved. McGill found Edogi in the paint for a layup, but Canisius guard Malik Johnson connected with Faulkner, who scored 13 points off the bench, for an alley-oop to put the Golden Griffs up by four.

McGill converted three consecutive free throws to cut Canisius’ lead to 83-82 with nine seconds left. Iona’s comeback fell short when the Gaels failed to commit a foul right away and Edogi was called for a flagrant one, which led to a free throw shot by Canisius’ Isaiah Reese.

“I told the guys let’s not go down to the wire,” Much said. “I don’t like playing like that even though it’s exciting. It’s not comfortable and I want to be comfortable, knowing that we are going to win the game.”

Reese paved the way for the Golden Griffs with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Senior Jermaine Crumpton had 18 points and seven rebounds. Canisius swept the season series with Iona.

Iona’s next game will be on Saturday when the Gaels face rival Manhattan in the Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 27.

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