Saturday, March 2, 2013

Momo Wills Iona To Sweep Of Loyola

Led by 35 points and a refuse-to-lose attitude from Momo Jones, Iona claimed season sweep of Loyola with 90-86 victory over Greyhounds at Hynes Center last night.  (Photo courtesy of Iona College)

If you need anymore proof that the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference is anybody's game, look no further than the on-court happenings that transpired last night.

About two hours prior to Manhattan's defensive clinic in a 34-31 (yes, you read that right) victory over Fairfield, the Jaspers' archrival picked up the win it had desperately been searching for, as Iona (16-13, 10-7) held off a Loyola team (20-10, 11-6) that came into New Rochelle with the second-best record in the league standings with a determined 90-86 triumph over the Greyhounds, giving the Gaels a season sweep of the reigning MAAC champions and assuring Iona of a top six finish in the standings, thus avoiding a play-in game into the tournament quarterfinals next week.

"It wasn't a statement, (win)" Iona guard Momo Jones said after his latest virtuoso effort, a commanding 35-point performance on 11-of-15 shooting that featured the senior point guard willing his team to victory more often than not down the stretch in a season where the Harlem product stands a strong chance to be named Iona's second straight MAAC Player of the Year.  "It was just to let ourselves know that we had it in us.  Tonight, we kept our foot on the pedal."

The Gaels shot an eye-popping 76 percent (19-for-25) from the field in the second half on their way to putting up 54 points after the intermission.  Aside from Jones' superstar showing, forward David Laury chipped in as well, scoring all but four of his 14 points in the final stanza.

Two other Gaels emerged with double-figure point totals, but the night clearly belonged to Jones; who scored six points during a 10-2 Iona run midway through the second half that gave the home team the lead for good, and then seemingly contributed almost every clutch basket the rest of the way to preserve the victory.

"I told Momo after the game, 'if you need anyone to talk about you being a pro, call me,'" Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos stated after Jones' dominating effort.  "He's such a great player and a great person."

Jones and Iona take the court one more time in the regular season for the Gaels' annual senior day festivities prior to tomorrow afternoon's matchup with Siena, who was defeated by Marist last night in what was essentially the precursor to a rematch between those two teams in next week's MAAC Tournament in Springfield.

Loyola, who received 23 points each from Robert Olson and Erik Etherly; as well as 20 from Anthony Winbush, returns home tomorrow to host Manhattan in a game that has major implications on tournament seeding.

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