WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Junior Deon Jones (Wilmington, Del./Sanford School/Towson) nearly missed his fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and nine rebounds, to lead three Hawks in double-figures, but Monmouth University fell to Iona College, 89-71 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play on Tuesday night.
With the defeat, Monmouth falls to 10-13 overall and 4-8 in league play, while the Gaels improve to 13-8 overall (10-2 MAAC) behind their fifth straight victory.
Joining Jones in double-digits were classmates Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York), who netted a team-high 15 points with five rebounds, while Max DiLeo (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) tallied his ninth double-figure outing with 12 points. Freshman Greg Noack (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) added a season-high eight points, while freshman Josh James (White Plains, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac) notched seven points and four steals for the Blue & White.
Monmouth, which outrebounded Iona 41-40, scored 46 points in the paint, but shot 36.5% (27-74) from the floor, including 3-of-17 from three-point range (17.6%).
"You have to take your hat off to Iona," stated head coach King Rice. "Those guys are good. They have a good plan, good players and they keep coming at you. They attack you on the break even when you score. We needed to fight harder and make them work on defense, and we did not do that today."
MU took a 17-12 lead at 12:41 as Noack scored six of eight for the Hawks, while his jumper in the lane put the Blue & White in front 23-17 with 10:42 showing. After Monmouth grabbed a 25-22 advantage on Jones’ drive with 9:19 left, the Gaels tied the game at 25-25 on Sean Armand’s three-pointer with 8:14 showing and grabbed their first lead, 27-25, on Armand’s lay-in at 7:38.
Five straight points from Armand started an 18-3 spurt for the Gaels over nearly six minutes, as Iona took a 40-28 edge on an A.J. English three-pointer with 2:25 left in the half.
Following a three-pointer from red-shirt freshman Collin Stewart (Glenville, N.Y./Mekeel Christian Academy) and DiLeo’s fast break lay-up with 38 seconds left, the Hawks climbed within 40-33 at the break.
The Gaels netted the first five points out of intermission to grab a 45-33 edge at 18:49, before Jones’ three-point play and Nicholas’ tip-in pulled the Hawks within 45-38 with 17:20 showing.
Iona, behind three three-pointers from Armand, pushed its lead to 56-42 at 15:26, before five straight from Nicholas had the Hawks within 56-47 at 14:37 on his three-pointer.
The Gaels then responded with a 9-2 spurt to grab a 65-49 advantage with 12:00 showing on another Armand trey.
After James’ lay-in got MU within 71-60 with 6:45 left, the Gaels rattled off a 12-4 run to take an 83-64 lead with 3:58 remaining.
Armand led all scorers with 22 points, on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, while David Laury added a double-double of 21 points (9-10 FG) and 12 rebounds. The Gaels, who connected on 54.1% (33-61) from the floor, hit 10 three-pointers.
Monmouth returns to action on Friday, February 7 when the Hawks travel to Webster Bank Arena to face Fairfield University in MAAC play at 7:00 p.m., on ESPN3.
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