Gaels struggle in early conference season



Senior E.J. Crawford leads the Gaels in scoring and free-throws, with 238 points and a .816 free-throw percentage.

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

The Iona College men’s basketball team has had a shaky start to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season.

This is a change from last year, where the Gaels’ started off the MAAC with two . At this time last year the Gaels were 5-3. This year, Iona has a 3-5 record in the MAAC, the first time the Gaels have had this shaky a start since the 2007-2008 season.

Rough patches aren’t strangers to the Gaels and Iona has proven time and again they can overcome losing slumps like these. This was shown best in the 2018-2019 season when the Gaels went on a four-game losing streak only to bounce back with a ten-game winning streak to win the MAAC.

One example of this determination was best shown at Iona’s home game against Canisius on Jan. 24.

The game was close in the second half, despite the Gaels having a 20-point lead at earlier in the game. Despite the Griffins’ hard press, the Gaels held on to the lead to the very end, eventually winning the game 66-69.

Acting head coach Tra Arnold is doing well to rally the Gaels to a consistent form that gets wins where needed. Games are close and the losses Iona have recorded haven’t been anything near a blowout.

Close score lines and last minute winners show the grit and hard work a winning team needs. Some players this season who are bolstering the team are junior Isaiah Washington and seniors E.J. Crawford and Tajuan Agee.

Washington has a .420 field-gold percentage this season, with a .358 three-point field goal percentage. Agee leads the team with his field goal percentage and leads the team in both defensive and offensive rebounds, with 83 and 28 respectively.

Other notable players for the Gaels are juniors Asante Gist, Isaiah Ross and Dylan van Eyck. Ross and van Eyck were picked up over the summer and have proven to bolster the team well, with Ross’ .404 field goal percentage, with a total of 134 points, helping the offense get the job done and van Eyck’s 48 total rebounds, bolstering the defense.

One aspect of the Gaels’ play that doesn’t seem to click is keeping the momentum they build. This is shown in their game against Monmouth on Jan. 26, where, through solid defense, they had an offensive burst in the fourth quarter, bringing them to an 87-83 four-point deficit at one point in the game. Ultimately, they weren’t able to carry that momentum forward and ended up scoring only five more points in the rest of the game.

(Pic Caption: Senior E.J. Crawford leads the Gaels in scoring and free-throws, with 238 points and a .816 free-throw percentage)