Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson's opening statement:
"Our guys showed a lot of heart, but they (Iona) were very good offensively."
On the difference between last year's Iona team and the Gaels this year:
"They kind of go as a unit more so than any one guy goes."
Iona guard Sean Armand (23 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) on Momo Jones:
"The first half, he showed he was a true point guard. The second half, he showed he could score."
Armand on how far Iona is from reaching their potential:
"Nowhere even close."
On Iona's upcoming five games, four of which are on the road:
"We haven't had that many road games, so now we're going to see what we're made of."
Iona guard Lamont (Momo) Jones (27 points) on Iona's team state at the moment:
"At this particular point in time, we're coming together and we're winning games. That's all that matters."
Iona head coach Tim Cluess' opening statement:
"I thought they (Fairfield) took Momo out of the game early. They're a very good team in general."
On Dashawn Gomez, who had a career-high 9 points:
"This was his first game against this kind of physicality, and I thought he did well."
On David Laury (9 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks) and his performance:
"I thought he was forcing it (early) because they were leaving him wide open."
On his team's offensive balance:
"When I saw the 84 points on the scoreboard, it felt like 50. We have to develop better consistency as a team if we're going to win. We have a lot of guys still learning to compete and figure that part of it out. They have their own identity."
Nuggets of Note:
- Iona struggled at the free throw line in the opening minutes, missing five of their first six foul shots after Fairfield committed five fouls in the first four minutes, but the Gaels righted the ship by making 20 of their final 25 attempts at the charity stripe.
- The Gaels' defense still needs a lot of work, and Sean Armand was emphatic in pointing that out in his postgame press conference. Iona was outrebounded 41-38, allowing 12 points and nine rebounds to Marcus Gilbert, as well as 11 boards from freshman Amadou Sidibe, whose style of play and relentless attack on the boards is strikingly reminiscent to Rakim Sanders, who donned Sidibe's No. 21 for the Stags last season. Maurice Barrow also chipped in with a dozen points and six rebounds off the bench.
- Derek Needham, whose junior season ended against Iona the last time these two teams met at the Hynes Center before tonight, exacted his own measure of revenge, carrying the Stags with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting and six three-pointers. Needham was a one-man band for most of the night, as Fairfield's duo of Colin Nickerson and Keith Matthews were unable to replicate their career games against the Gaels in last year's MAAC Tournament semifinal.
- Despite the 11-point victory, this game was much closer than the score let on, and also closer than Fairfield's 42-28 edge in the paint may suggest. After trailing by 11 at halftime, the Stags opened the second half on a 9-1 run and kept the game within single digits for the majority of the second half before Jones and Armand proved to be too much for Fairfield to overcome.
- Finally, tonight was somewhat of a homecoming for two former Gaels legends, as Mike Glover and Scott Machado made their returns to New Rochelle to rousing ovations from a crowd of 2,435 at the Hynes Center. We caught up with Machado, who was recently waived by the Houston Rockets, at halftime, and the guard is still hoping to resurface in the NBA sooner rather than later.