Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Iona 87, Liberty 69: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets

With 23 points and seven three pointers, Sean Armand was once again an integral part of an Iona win, as Gaels defeated Liberty 87-69 to win second straight and improve to 5-4.  (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Iona guard Sean Armand (23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) on Iona's mindset:
"We're above .500 now.  We want to go on a (winning) streak from here.  We're going to have more pieces and we're going to be rolling."

Guard Momo Jones (24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) on Iona's strengths:
"I think we've got a great backcourt, we have guys who complement each other pretty well.  A.J. (English) had two great games in a row.  Welcome back, David Laury, that's all I've got to say."

Guard Tavon Sledge (6 points, 3 assists) on his role on this team:
"I still feel like a freshman.  Having guys like Momo (Jones) and Sean (Armand) in front of me gives me confidence."

Guard A.J. English (17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) on being Iona's third scoring option behind Jones and Armand:
"It doesn't matter to me.  As long as I'm open, I just try to make shots and get it going.  I think everybody can do it.  I go out there and try to win because they (my teammates) put a lot of confidence in me."

Head coach Tim Cluess on A.J. English:
"He's been playing great for a freshman, he's grown up a lot with the help of our seniors.  He could be really special.  With Sean Armand mentoring him, he couldn't be in better hands."

On last night's win:
"I think the win (Saturday) over Georgia and the second half against Rutgers helped our confidence.  I thought we shared the ball better in the second half, that's who we are and where we need to be."

On forward David Laury, who is expected to make his Iona debut tomorrow night:
"We're hoping he could give us some inside scoring, but that might take a little while in all fairness to him."

On guard Tre Bowman, who scored 13 points off the bench:
"We were hoping to get him back and give him good minutes."

On Tavon Sledge and what he brings to the team:
"He's working his tail off.  His energy is contagious to the other players."

On Momo Jones and his offensive improvement from last season:
"We've been able to use him in a lot of different spots, on the ball, off the ball, and diversify him more because of (Tavon) Sledge and A.J. (English)"

Nuggets of Note:
- In the win, Iona tied a school record with 18 three-pointers, previously set against Albany in November of 2010.  The Gaels also broke their previous record of three-point attempts with 41 shots from beyond the arc last night.

- With his 24-point effort to lead all scorers, Momo Jones has now scored 20 or more points in seven of Iona's nine contests, and continues to be the Gaels' leading scorer.  Sean Armand's 23 points brought his season average back to 20 points per game as well.

- A.J. English's 17 points matched his career high, set in Iona's previous game, an 81-78 overtime win this past Saturday at Georgia.  The freshman also broke the game open midway through the second half, with eleven points in a 19-5 Iona run that turned a tenuous 51-45 advantage into a comfortable 70-50 cushion for the Gaels.

- Iona turned the first half into a track meet by allowing Liberty to shoot 52 percent from the field in the opening stanza, but clamped down defensively after the intermission, limiting the Flames to just 30 percent (9-of-30) from the field in the second half.

- Highly touted recruit David Laury is expected to make his debut tomorrow night for the Gaels on the road against La Salle, and is also expected to make an immediate impact on the front line as Iona continues to search for a replacement for former all-MAAC forward Mike Glover, who graduated this past May.

- Finally, the road game against La Salle, Iona's first against an Atlantic 10 opponent since the Gaels defeated Richmond last December, starts a stretch of four games featuring three A-10 opponents to close out 2012.  Following a home date with Norfolk State on Sunday, Iona travels to Saint Joseph's on December 28th before celebrating New Year's Eve in western New York against reigning A-10 champions St. Bonaventure.

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