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Iona and Manhattan Set For Another MAAC Championship Battle

Manhattan is the defending MAAC tournament champion.

Iona enters it's third consecutive MAAC Championship game and fourth in five seasons under head coach Tim Cluess. (Via Iona Gaels)

Iona enters it’s third consecutive MAAC Championship game and fourth in five seasons under head coach Tim Cluess. (Via Iona Gaels)


Same chapter – different verse

The often used adage is certainly an appropriate one as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference looks to crown a men’s conference champ this evening when the Iona Gaels and Manhattan Jaspers meet for the third time in as many years at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY.

Manhattan is the defending MAAC tournament champion as they defeated Iona, 71-68, at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA last season.

Whenever these two MAAC powerhouse programs have met in the past, basketball fans have been treated to end-to-end action with the outcome hanging in the balance until the final moments.

With the winner getting an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, you can expect more of the same this evening in Albany.

The championship clash between these two local rivals will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with the opening tip scheduled for 9 p.m.

The top seeded Gaels (26-7) advanced to the finals with wins over No. 8 seed Siena College and No. 4 Monmouth University.

It will be Iona’s 14th appearance in the MAAC title game and the Gaels will be looking for their 9th MAAC banner both conference records.

The No. 3 Manhattan Jaspars (18-13) road to the final game came with victories over No. 11 Marist and No. 7 St. Peter’s.

Tonight marks the 9th appearance for Manhattan in the championship game and the Jaspers will be looking to hang their 4th MAAC banner.

During the regular season Iona won both head-to-head games with the Jaspars.

A.J. English’s three pointer with 25.3 seconds to play propelled Iona to a 70-67 win) at Draddy Gymnasium.

The Jaspers were led by Emmy Andujar who had a team-best 17 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Ashton Pankey added 16 points while Shane Richards chipped in with 12.

Iona took the rematch as well, as A.J. English scored 26 points while David Laury had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead Iona to a 79-75 win.

Ashton Pankey paced the Jaspers with 20 while Emmy Andujar added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Shane Richards chipped in with 14 points.


MAAC Men’s Musings: 

The Iona College men’s basketball team shot its way to a third consecutive MAAC Championship game appearance and fourth in five seasons under head coach Tim Cluess.

The Gaels hit a tournament record 19 three-point field goals (surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by LaSalle in 1990) in their semi-final win over Monmouth, the second highest single-game total in program history in the win.

Iona earned its 26th win of the season, a new high under head coach Tim Cluess, and matched the third highest win total in program history. It is the most wins since a 27-6 mark in 1997-98. The program record is 29 set by the late Jim Valvano and All American Jeff Ruland who led the 1979-80 squad. Iona also won 26 games in 1984-85.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced the 2014-15 Men’s Basketball All-MAAC Teams, selected by the league’s 11 head coaches.

The first team is made up of A.J. English and David Laury from Iona College, Emmy Andujar from Manhattan College, Justin Robinson of Monmouth University, Zaid Hearst from Quinnipiac, and Matt Lopez of Rider University. English and Laury were unanimous selections to the first team.

Marist’s Chavaughn Lewis led the MAAC in scoring at 20.3 ppg. Lewis just edged Iona’s Laury 20.1 ppg.

They were followed closely by Iona’s English at 19.5 ppg


MAAC Men’s Final Basketball Standings:

Iona                 17-3

Rider               15-5

Manhattan       13-7

Monmouth       13-7

Canisius           11-9

Quinnipiac       9-11

Saint Peter’s     8-12

Siena                7-13

Niagara            7-13

Fairfield           5-15

Marist              5-15


(Compiled with data from MAAC and member institution media releases)

Follow DoubleG college sports correspondent Bob Whitney on Twitter for all the postgame highlights: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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