Iona’s 77-72 win against Fairfield Friday night earned the Gaels their first regular-season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title in more than a decade, something that won’t surprise anyone who’s seen them play this season.
Iona (23-6, 14-3) features two guys who have shot at making NBA rosters in point guard Scott Macado and forward Mike Glover, not to mention shooting guard Momo Jones, who was a key part of Arizona’s run to the Elite Eight last season. Throw in sophomore Sean Armand – who scored all 17 of his points vs. Fairfield in the second half, 15 of which in a 5-minute span – and Iona has enough talent to run away with the league title and win an NCAA tournament game.
Yet a few puzzling losses in which Iona blew double-digit leads to Siena and Manhattan kept things close until the last few weeks.
Maybe that’s why Iona didn’t pop any bubbly Friday night (metaphorically speaking; some guys aren’t 21). They expected this.
From the NY Daily News:
“There’s nothing to celebrate,” Armand said. “We did what we were supposed to do, we were preseason No. 1. We felt like we should be No. 1 and that’s what we did. So now we’re going to go to Springfield (for the MAAC Tournament) and we’ll go from there.”
Machado agreed with Armand’s take on the lack of celebration.
“Like Sean said, we were predicted to be No. 1 and felt like we were supposed to be No. 1 so this is just the beginning. We want something bigger than this.”
Something bigger would be Iona’s second-ever NCAA tournament win. The Gaels have been to the Big Dance eight times, but their only win came back in 1980 vs. Holy Cross. The coach? None other than Jim Valvano, who would win an NCAA title just a few years later with N.C. State.
That’d be quite the feat for Tim Cluess to match.
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During North Carolina’s blowout win over N.C. State on Jan. 8, the Tar Heels weren’t the only ones in the building who were feeling it.
As it turns out, North Carolina ball boy Asher Lucas was the hottest shooter of anyone in the building that night.
During halftime of that Jan. 8 game, Lucas nailed three consecutive halfcourt shots, as his father, Adam Lucas, a North Carolina columnist, released the video this week to YouTube. The video quickly went viral as Asher’s unreal streak of shots was all over TV and the Internet.
The Tar Heels have been struggling to find consistent perimeter shooting for the last few seasons, so maybe they need to start scouting Asher for a future roster spot.
Milwaukee picked up a Horizon League win on Friday night as guard Brock Stull knocked in a buzzer-beater to topple Cleveland State.
Stull only had four points on the night as he played 30 minutes and finished with five assists and six rebounds.
Oregon released a statement on Friday afternoon that said star forward Dillon Brooks had seen doctors and was in a walking boot, but gave no further update on his condition.
Brooks suffered what the program termed a “lower leg injury” on Thursday night against Cal. The injury was to his left leg – on replay, it looked like he rolled his ankle – which is concerning because his left foot is the foot that he injured over the summer, which caused him to miss the first three games of the season.
“He’ll be evaluated in the next couple of days and see where he’s at,” head coach Dana Altman said after Thursday’s game.
Allonzo Trier’s most recent drug test came back negative, meaning that the leading returning scorer for the Wildcats will be eligible to play on Saturday when Arizona plays a visit to UCLA.
Trier had been suspended for the first 19 games of the season following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. He appealed to the NCAA and actually won, claiming that he unknowingly ingested the substance after someone he trusted gave him a product to help him recover from a car accident during the offseason.
The NCAA’s stipulation, however, was that he could not play until the PED had cleared his system.
Trier averaged 14.8 points last season for Arizona. He’ll join a back court that already includes Kadeem Allen, Rawle Alkins and Kobi Simmons, as well as Kadeem Allen and Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Along with Lauri Markkanen, who has the look of a lottery pick, Trier was expected to be Arizona’s best player this season. While he has not been allowed to play this year, Trier has been practicing and traveling with the team. It may take him a while to work his way back into game shape and into the flow of the team, but it won’t be because he’s rusty.
The Wildcats are currently 17-2 on the year and 6-0 in the Pac-12. They play No. 3 UCLA in Pauley Pavilion on Saturday. The Bruins are a game out of first place in the conference standings.
Myles Davis announced in a post on twitter on Friday evening that he will be leaving the Xavier basketball team.
“I would like to thank everyone and Xavier for allowing me to get my degree but my family and I have decided that it is time for me to move on from Xavier and start a new chapter in my life,” Davis wrote in the statement. “Wish my teammates the best of luck the rest of the season.”
Davis averaged 10.8 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 38.1 percent from three as a junior in 2015-16, and his skill set would have filled a void that the Musketeers are currently missing on their roster.
But he was suspended for the first 15 games of the regular season following a pair of incidents involving an ex-girlfriend over the summer, and since being reinstated to the team just three games ago, Davis has averaged 11 minutes, scored just two points and shot 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-6 from three.