ALBANY, NY – Ricky McGill reached a new career-high in scoring for the second straight game with 22 points to lead defending MAAC Tournament Champion Iona past Siena Basketball 77-66 in front of a season-high 6,826 fans at the Times Union Center. Seniors Javion Ogunyemi and Marquis Wright scored 16 points apiece for the Saints which fell for just the second time at home all season.
Deyshonee Much came off the bench to score a season-high 20 points on 7-11 shooting including 5-8 from three for Iona (14-8, 7-4) which has won 13 of the past 15 meetings between the programs, including seven straight in Albany. E.J. Crawford added 13 points, and Sam Cassell, Jr. contributed 10 points and six assists for the Gaels which captured the battle between the two teams that entered the night tied for third place in the MAAC Standings.
Wright recorded six rebounds and dished out seven assists without committing a turnover, and Ogunyemi tied a season-high with four blocks for Siena (9-13, 6-5) which shot just 3-19 from three and 11-21 from the free throw line. The Saints had excelled in those two areas recently, having shot 45.7% from distance over the previous three games and 77.7% from the charity stripe over their last seven contests.
While Siena struggled in those two areas, Iona flourished. The Gaels, which entered play ranked 12th nationally in free throw percentage (.772) and 19th in three-pointers made per game (9.7), were 11-12 from the free throw line and 10-23 from beyond the arc.
Iona led throughout and by as many as 21 points in winning their fourth straight. The Gaels harbored a 44-34 advantage at intermission, and bridged the first and second halves with a 22-8 run to claim a commanding 16-point advantage early in the final stanza.
Several Saints reached noteworthy milestones in the loss. Red-shirt senior forward Brett Bisping became just the sixth player in program history to eclipse 900 career rebounds, as he corralled 14 boards to go along with 10 points in recording his seventh double-double of the season. Meanwhile Lavon Long dished out four assists, in the process joining Siena greats Marcus Faison ’00 and Antoine Jordan ’06 as the only three players in program history to accumulate 1,200 points, 600 rebounds and 250 assists.
The Saints return to action Monday when they close out the month of January at Quinnipiac. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. from Hamden, Connecticut in a game that will be televised on SNY.