NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Two-time defending MAAC Tournament Champion and preseason favorite Iona scored 15 unanswered points spanning just 3:45 down the stretch to rally past Siena Basketball 71-69 in a MAAC Championship rematch between the teams at the Hynes Athletics Center. The Gaels overcame as much as a 12-point deficit with 11:40 remaining to record their 15th victory in the past 18 meetings between the programs.
Preseason Second Team All-MAAC selection Deyshonee Much punctuated an otherwise quiet eight-point night with the go-ahead tip-in off his own miss with 3:51 to play, and then hit a clutch three on the ensuing possession to cap the Iona (10-7, 4-1) run and give the Gaels a 67-62 lead with 3:20 to go. Schadrac Casimir led all scorers with 17 points for Iona which has won 30 of its past 36 MAAC home games.
Sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers led a balanced scoring effort for Siena (5-13, 1-4), which featured seven players who finished with between 7-13 points. Shivers tallied 13 points, and his free throw with 7:26 remaining pushed the Saints' lead back to 10.
But Siena, which shot 53% from the field in defeat, cooled off late in missing nine of its final 11 shots. Freshman guard Roman Penn's three pulled the Saints back within 70-67 with 61 seconds to go and Siena got a pair of looks at potential game-tying threes in the closing 30 seconds, but couldn't cash in.
Freshman guard Jordan Horn scored 12 points on the strength of four triples and Penn added nine points and seven assists to pace the Saints. Sophomore forward Thomas Huerter, Jr. connected on all four of his first half shots en route to scoring all of his career-high nine points in the opening stanza. Siena shot a scintillating 64% from the field in the first half, which included making eight of their final 11 shots to take a 40-34 lead at the break.
Roland Griffin scored 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Gaels which improved to a perfect 5-0 at the Hynes Athletics Center this season. Rickey McGill added 10 points for Iona which won despite shooting just 39% from the field.
The Saints will remain in the New York City Metropolitan area over the weekend to continue a tough stretch where they play four of five away from home. After taking on the MAAC preseason favorite on the road tonight, Siena next travels to preseason No. 2 Manhattan Saturday night for a 7 p.m. tip.