Averaging fifteen points and nearly nine rebounds per game, Iona's David Laury faces what could be his stiffest test yet as Gaels host Fairfield in MAAC battle tonight. (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)
At 5-1 in the MAAC, Iona College is seemingly on a roll, having won five straight and eight of their last ten following a 3-4 start to the Gaels' nonconference schedule. Of course, Tim Cluess' team has changed its overall appearance between now and then with the addition of forward David Laury, who figures to be an integral part of tonight's MAAC showdown with Fairfield at the Hynes Center, where the Gaels are a perfect 6-0 on the season.
The Iona offense, which ranks fifth in the nation by virtue of its 83 points per game, should have numerous opportunities to approach that number tonight as they take on a 10-8 Stags team that defeated Iona in the MAAC Championship semifinals in Springfield last March, seemingly ending the Gaels' NCAA Tournament aspirations until Iona was selected as an at-large entrant into the field of 68 the following week.
For Fairfield, which comes in off a 67-64 loss to Niagara that served as the Stags' third straight defeat since scoring an upset 21-point win at resurgent Canisius, guard play will be paramount for Sydney Johnson tonight. Senior point guard Derek Needham, the team's leading scorer and passer, will need to have a big game to keep Fairfield in contention against a Gaels team that prematurely ended his junior season last year when he injured his foot at the Hynes Center on February 24th. Swingmen Colin Nickerson and Keith Matthews, both of whom were significant contributors for the Stags in their conference tournament win over Iona, will also need to revisit those performances from the first weekend in March.
A Daly Dose Of Hoops will be live tweeting tonight's affair from New Rochelle, so follow us at @DalyDoseOfHoops for updates throughout the evening.