Sean Armand Set To Be More Aggressive In Senior Season

For a player who started every game and was the unquestioned leader of last year’s team, Iona senior Sean Armand appears to have another way to enhance his game for the 2014 season. Continue reading “Sean Armand Set To Be More Aggressive In Senior Season”

Iona’s point guard dilemma

Tim Cluess has won twenty or more games in his three seasons at Iona, but moments after the Gaels dropped a double-digit defeat to Ohio State in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament, he was confronted with a reality he had yet to experience at the Division I level: an upcoming season without an established point guard. Continue reading “Iona’s point guard dilemma”

Inconsistent Iona Falls at St. Peter’s

From game-to-game and half-to-half inconsistency has been Iona’s Achilles heel through the first six games of a young season. The Gaels look like a MAAC contender at one moment and clueless the next. It was the same story on Wednesday night, as Iona led by 12 at halftime, but fell to St. Peter’s 64-62 in Jersey City. Continue reading “Inconsistent Iona Falls at St. Peter’s”

MAAC Discussion: League’s Top 10

A few weeks ago we looked at the Top 10 players in the NEC, now I want to do the same exercise with the MAAC. This league is a lot tougher because of all the turnover and transfers coming in. There is no dominant team, so six of the 10 teams probably think they have a legitimate shot at winning the title. There’s also the pesky problem of transfers that aren’t eligible immediately or might not be eligible at all this season. I’m leaving those players off my Top 10 for now, but I’d certainly be willing to consider them in the future.

Continue reading “MAAC Discussion: League’s Top 10”

Iona’s Assists or Why the Offense Will Stay Strong

This season the Iona offense was run by the steady hand of Scott Machado. One of the nation’s best point guards, Machado led the nation in assists per game during the 2011-12 season. He was also fourth in assist rate (behind Utah’s Josh Watkins, Penn State’s Tim Frazier and UNC’s Kendall Marshall). As you’ll see below, Machado was a big driver in the success of a number of players’ success this season. Of course, Machado is a senior and will be heading to the NBA next season. The keys are going to be turned over to Lamont “Momo” Jones in 2012-13.

Continue reading “Iona’s Assists or Why the Offense Will Stay Strong”

Season At A Glance — Iona

This is the seventh of what will eventually be capsules for each of the NYC teams when I’m sure their season has concluded.

Team: Iona

Record: 25-8 (15-3 in the MAAC)

Season High: Winning at Denver

Season Low: Blowing an 18-point lead at Siena (though I’d guess the NCAA loss to BYU hurts more)

Really Good At: Making shots — Iona had the fourth best effective field goal percentage in the nation during the regular season at 56.7%. The Gaels could knock down twos (55.7%, a lot in transition) or threes (39.3%) with the best of the them.

Struggled With: Defensive consistency – For a team with so much talent, Iona struggled quite a bit defensively. The Gaels often gave up easy shots on the opposite end. Against the shorter three-guard lineup Iona often employed rebounds were tough to get.

Key Losses:

  • Mike Glover (18.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 64.4% FG%, All-MAAC First Team)
  • Scott Machado (13.6 PPG, 9.9 APG, 5.0 RPG, 1.6 SPG, MAAC Player of the Year)
  • Jermel Jenkins (5.2 PPG, 90.0% FT%)
  • Randy Dezouvre (5.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG)

Key Returnees:

  • Momo Jones, Jr., G (16.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, All-MAAC Second Team)
  • Taaj Ridley, Jr., F (6.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 51.4% FG%)
  • Sean Armand, So., G (128.7 Offensive Rating – 9th in the country, 46.7% 3PT%)
  • Ra’Shad James, Jr., G (3.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG)
  • Kyle Smith, Jr., G (5.7 PPG, 93.8% FT%)

Outlook: Different. As Glover and Machado graduate this will become Jones’ team. He’ll still have a host of talented complementary players around him. Armand is a lights out shooter and Smyth can also launch the rock. With Dezouvre and Ridley graduating there might be some changes up front. I’d expect Josh Gomez to see some more playing time next season. It might not quite be the run-and-gun style of this season because the team will be quite a bit younger. Iona never quite reached the level people thought the Gaels might in 2011-12. Those expectations will be gone next season and could free the team to be even more successful while in a dog fight in the MAAC. Iona won’t be the class of the league like it was in 2011-12, when it outscored opponents by 0.21 points per possession, but it should be right there.

Iona’s Sean Armand puts on a show at the Garden

Sean Armand might want to play all of Iona’s games at Madison Square Garden after the show he put on at MSG on Tuesday night against Siena in the Gaels’ 95-59 victory. But it didn’t come without a little bit of extra preparation.

Armand scored a career-high 32 points and hit a school and MAAC record 10 threes as Iona ran all over the Saints in its return to MAAC action. One game after the team shot 6-18 from three during a disappointing 83-75 loss at Hofstra, Armand came back and hit that many threes during the first half for the Gaels.

The Iona sophomore came in early and did some extra shooting before the game to get ready for the big lights of MSG. It paid off.

“I came in a little extra early to get shots up and routine stuff,” Armand said. “Tonight I hit more than usual and I’m happy about it. … My friends and my family are here and at Madison Square Garden there’s no better place to do that.”

With Armand providing the offensive firepower, Iona had no problem showing the 9,528 in attendance for the double-header along with Louisville’s 73-58 victory over St. John’s why it is considered the favorite this season in the MAAC. Even after Loyola (Md.) and Manhattan lost on Monday, the Gaels showed up focused and ready ready to dominate.

Unlike the game against Hofstra where Dwan McMillan, turnovers and poor shooting help thwart Iona’s high-octane attack, the Gaels were able to consistently get out on the break against the Saints. Scott Machado finished with nine points, nine assists and nine rebounds for Iona and his running mate the backcourt, Momo Jones, went for 14 points and seven assists.

“I hate losing and I hate losing the way we lost,” said Iona head coach Tim Cluess about the Hofstra game. “I can understand it if we competed and they beat us great. Now they played very well, but we didn’t compete for half a game. We made uncharacteristic mistakes and we got selfish. So tonight to see that passing and the effort back were the two most important things.”

The Gaels have another high-profile conference game on Friday when they take on Niagara at home on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Niagara dominated the first half against Loyola (Md.) on Monday on the way to a surprising 66-61 victory on the road at Reitz Arena.

Iona controlled the first half against Siena on Tuesday. The Gaels started out on fire and built up a big lead thanks to impressive three-point shooting. The hot hand was passed from Jones to Jermel Jenkins to Armand during the first 20 minutes. Jones and Jenkins each hit three in the first 20 minutes and scored in double-figures before halftime. Armand led the team with 20 points in the first 20 minutes and led Iona to a 57-31 lead at the break.

O.D. Anosike grabbed 10 rebounds for the Saints in the first half. He also scored six points, but picked up three fouls while battling with Mike Glover and the surprisingly active Randy Dezouvre in the first half.

For the game Anosike, who called Siena the “Cadillac program” of the MAAC earlier in the week finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Evan Hymes led the Saints with 22 points.

Notes: Kyle Smyth started the game for Iona, but Armand started the second half after his scoring outburst in the first… Hymes is one of the fastest players I’ve ever seen in person… Iona is now 9-2 in MAAC regular season games at neutral sites… The Gaels are now 51-46 (52.6%) all-time against Siena… Glover scored 10 points for Iona, his second lowest total of the season… Jermel Jenkins came off the bench to score 16 points for the Gaels.

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.

Continue reading “Iona falls to Santa Clara in CIT Championship”

Iona advances to CIT Finals

Iona defeated East Tennessee State 83-80 this afternoon on the road to advance to the CIT Championship game. The Gaels will now play Santa Clara in New Rochelle on Wednesday night for the tournament title. Iona was carried by Mike Glover. He scored 33 points and grabbed 10 boards. Glover also shot 13-19 from the field.

Glover’s shooting was reminiscent of the entire Iona squad, which managed to shoot 52.9% from the field in the game. The Gaels had a 60.2% effective field goal percentage. That’s even better than the 54.5% the Gaels came in averaging on the season. Considering that it was on the road that’s even more impressive. Sean Armand scored 20 points for Iona on 6-11 three-point shooting.

Continue reading “Iona advances to CIT Finals”