Iona falls to Santa Clara in CIT Championship

Iona lost tonight to Santa Clara and if you saw the Broncos celebrating on the court afterwards you know that this title meant something to them. Both teams played hard, but it was the battle-tested Santa Clara squad that pulled out the 76-69 victory to take the title. The margin might seem small, but this was a pretty convincing victory as Santa Clara was able to go inside and dominate the paint.

It wasn’t that the Broncos shot better, because they didn’t. It was they got more shots up. Santa Clara had 18 offensive rebounds on 39 missed shots, which works out to an offensive rebounding percentage of 43.6%. Iona came into the game allowing teams to grab 29.5% of their misses, while Santa Clara came in pulling down 35.8% of their misses. Neither of those percentages suggested this would happen.

But it did and the Broncos, even after committing six more turnovers, ended up with three extra shots – approximately the difference in the game. Take a look at the Four Factors below.

Iona’s Four Factors:

  • Effective Field Goal Percentage: 46.8%
  • Offensive Rebound Percentage: 22.2%
  • Turnover Percentage: 8.7%
  • Free Throw Rate: 29.0%

That worked out to exactly a point per possession (69 points in 69 possessions) for the Gaels.

Santa Clara’s Four Factors:

  • Effective Field Goal Percentage: 47.8%
  • Offensive Rebound Percentage: 43.6%
  • Turnover Percentage: 16.9%
  • Free Throw Rate: 26.9%

That worked out to 1.07 points per possession (76 points in 71 possessions) and it was enough to win the game.

But back to that OR% that Santa Clara put up. There were just two games this season that Iona did worse on the defensive glass and they’re pretty memorable: versus Bryant (L) and at Fairfield (L). This problem hadn’t cropped up in almost two months, but it resurfaced in a big way tonight. Of course, there was also the problem that Iona’s offense just didn’t make up for it.

Scott Machado was dared to shoot and he struggled with his shot (5-16 from the floor, 0-4 from three). Mike Glover put up an excellent performance with 22 points and 12 boards, but the back up wasn’t there. Sean Armand had spurts of greatness with 14 points on 5-10 shooting, but his momentary runs never seemed to spark the rest of the offense.

Now Iona gets months to think about its second championship game loss this season, but the fun is just getting started here at Big Apple Buckets. Look for content all offseason.

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