Career Performances From Iona Duo Fuel Comeback Victory

David Laury scored 30 points for the first time in his career and Isaiah Williams followed with 27 as the Gael duo each posted career highs to help Iona erase a 15 point deficit in a 91-84 victory over Indiana State Saturday afternoon.

(photo courtesy: Stockton Photo)
David Laury returned to Iona’s starting lineup in a big way Saturday afternoon, scoring a career-high 30 points. (photo courtesy: Stockton Photo)

Laury, who missed Wednesday’s victory over Rider due to a violation of team rules following an arrest for misdemeanor assault earlier in the week, accounted for five of six Iona baskets in the final minutes as the Gaels seized control down the stretch. The senior forward and MAAC preseason Player of the Year added 11 rebounds to complete his 20th career double-double.

“I just wanted to come out and have my teammates’ back like they had my back the other night against Rider.” Laury said.

On a night when A.J. English, the nation’s leading scorer at 26.5 ppg, struggled mightily it was Williams who kept Iona afloat in the first half. During the first twenty minutes, Iona’s defense allowed Indiana State to convert on 63.6% of their attempts, scoring at a clip of 1.27 points per possession. Williams led all scorers with 17 points in the first half, knocking down four of his nine attempts from beyond the arc. English finished the game with just eight points on 1-11 shooting.

For much of the first half, Iona struggled to keep Indiana State from the basket. The Sycamores opened up their largest lead of the night at 15 with 3:35 left in the first half, but from then on it was all Iona. The Gaels finished the half on a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to just six entering halftime.

“We knew if we wanted to win this game we had to dig in and play even harder.” Williams said of the team’s turnaround at the end of the first half.

From the start of the second half, the Gaels turned on the jets. They quickly erased what little deficit they left to overcome and a Williams dunk off a missed English layup made it 53-52 with 15:00 to play, giving Iona their first lead in over 20 minutes.

The lead changed hands 11 times in the second half before a Schadrac Casimir 3-pointer gave the Gaels the lead for good with just over five minutes remaining. The freshman sensation poured in 16 points to join Laury and Williams in double figures.

Not only did Iona’s offense step up in the second half, but their defense stood out as well. They boosted their scoring efficiency to 1.38 ppp while holding Indiana State to just 1.04 ppp in the second frame.

Indiana State had five players in double figures. Khristian Smith led the charge with 24 points and eight rebounds. Brenton Scott and Devonte Brown posted 16 and 15 points respectively, while Justin Gant rounded out the scoring with 10 points.

Iona’s last two wins have come by showing a level of versatility that will be pivotal in the coming weeks and months. The Gaels were able to overcome the absence of Laury on Wednesday and once again found a way to come out on top when their top scorer struggled from the field. The threat that any one of Iona’s top four can light up the scoreboard on any given night is what makes the Gaels so dangerous.

“We think we have enough guys that can put the ball in the basket on different nights,” head coach Tim Cluess said. “Tonight we had several people step up for us and that was huge. If you’re going to be good you have to have more than one guy.”

Vincent Simone covers Quinnipiac, the MAAC, and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.

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