Noon on a Sunday seemed like a rather unfortunate time for Iona and Loyola, two of the MAAC powerhouses, to square off.
Game #9-357: Iona Gaels at Loyola (Md.) GreyhoundsJanuary 27, 2013 12:00 pm
Despite the time, there was a decent crowd filing in when we arrived, including a fair number of traveling Iona fans. Some of the people sitting around me were locals, including a few who came just to see Iona's Momo Jones.
As the teams warmed up and the starting lineups were announced, the Momo-watchers were remarking mostly on, well, his height. "He doesn't look tall enough to play in the NBA, does he?" (Is it only short people like me who hold on to the memory of Muggsy Bogues?) Considering that he's pretty consistently been in the top 5 in scoring in all of college basketball all season, you'd think some disbelief could be suspended. But sometimes people just need to see for themselves, and I've got to imagine that they did - Jones had 23 points, although he might not have been as efficient as some Iona fans would've liked (although he's the leading scorer in the MAAC, the Basketball State robots have him as only the 22nd-most efficient scorer), on this day he seemed to score at important times, and he was 11/12 from the free throw line. Perhaps Jones is pushing Iona to buck the trend that Ray Curren observed in teams that purport to display Paul Westhead tendencies. Nevertheless, the adjectives that make up the title of this recap - talented, prolific, exciting, vulnerable - were my teammate Tim Delehaunty's impressions of Iona when he saw them a few weeks ago at Fairfield, and Jones may be the embodiment of that.
As far as the Greyhounds' performance, well, let's just say that my greyhounds (Whiskey and Ginger, below) would not be too impressed with their human counterparts' propensity for missing bunnies in this game (har).
The Greyhounds' seemingly mercurial forward Erik Etherly (whose efficiency per possession has ranged from 0.023 to 0.439 over the course of this season, while using the highest percentage of the team's possessions) had one of his games on the lower end of the spectrum, while Dylon Cormier led the Greyhounds with 18 points. However, Loyola shot free throws no better than they did guarded 2-point shots (44% from each), which, when not offset with particularly good #superhoop shooting (29%) did not make for a winning combination.
Nevertheless, the Greyhounds were not out of this game until the last few minutes - whether Iona's defense will be sufficient to keep them out in front in the MAAC remains to be seen, and may not ultimately be decided until these two teams meet in MAACachusetts (although certainly Canisius and Niagara, and a few other MAAC teams, are looking to have a say in that debate as well). And, the Miles Cartwright Honorary Sneaker of the Game award goes to... DaShawn Gomez!
IONA 79, at LOYOLA (MD.) 71
IONA 14-7 (8-2) -- L. Jones 6-15 11-12 23; D. Laury 4-8 2-3 10; S. Armand 5-13 2-3 14; T. Sledge 4-4 1-3 9; T. Bowman 3-8 4-4 11; T. Ridley 1-1 0-0 3; C. Dennis 2-4 0-0 6; D. Gomez 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 26-54 20-25 79.
LOYOLA (MD.) 15-7 (7-3) -- D. Cormier 8-18 1-3 18; R. Olson 4-12 3-3 14; A. Winbush 2-5 1-2 5; E. Etherly 3-12 2-5 8; J. Latham 5-8 0-0 11; J. Brooks 0-1 1-4 1; F. Rassman 2-4 0-0 4; J. Jones 1-3 0-0 3; T. Hubbard 1-3 0-0 2; E. Laster 0-0 0-0 0; C. Onyiuke 0-0 0-0 0; L. Wandrusch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-66 8-17 66.
Three-point goals: IONA 7-21 (C. Dennis 2-4; L. Jones 0-3; S. Armand 2-8; T. Ridley 1-1; T. Bowman 1-4; D. Gomez 1-1), LMD 6-22 (A. Winbush 0-2; R. Olson 3-10; J. Latham 1-1; D. Cormier 1-4; R. Williams 1-2; T. Hubbard 0-2; J. Jones 1-2; F. Rassman 0-1); Rebounds: IONA 35 (D. Laury 14), LMD 34 (A. Winbush 10); Assists: IONA 11 (S. Armand 4), LMD 11 (R. Williams 7); Total Fouls -- IONA 17, LMD 15; Fouled Out: IONA-S. Armand; LMD-None.