For the second-straight year, Iona College will represent the MAAC in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
Entering the conference tournament as a No. 3 seed, Iona fought it’s way through the bracket, defeating No. 2 seeded St. Peter’s in the semifinals before needing overtime to get past No. 4 seed Siena in the final.
Iona was led by Championship MVP Jordan Washington who scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
E.J. Crawford hit a layup with 28 seconds left to give Iona an 85-83 lead. Nico Clareth, who was the hero for the Saints in the semifinals, shot a three with six seconds left that hit the rim. Washington grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and would hit two free-throws to make it 87-83. Siena’s Marquis Wright drove down the court and hit a long three-pointer as time expired, making the final score 87-86.
For much of the contest, the score remained close. This game was tied 16 times and featured five lead changes. It was the fifth time in MAAC history the championship game has gone into overtime.
Free throw shooting turned out to be a major difference in the game. Siena went 19-of-30 from the free throw line while Iona shot 18-of-21 from the charity stripe.
All five Iona starters scored in double-figures.
The Gaels will now wait to find out their NCAA seeding and game location. Last season, Iona was a No. 13 seed and lost in the first round to No. 4 seed Iowa State. The CBS Selection Show airs this Sunday, March 12 at 6:00pm EST.
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