Tim Cluess and David Laury are on same page again after Iona forward's 21 points lifted Gaels past Manhattan. (Photo courtesy of Adam Zagoria)
Playing Manhattan for the first time since a hard-fought 60-57 MAAC championship victory that Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello put on the scoreboard in practice leading up to the game, Iona didn't necessarily need to make a statement, especially considering they were already a game ahead of their adversary in the MAAC standings.
David Laury just conveniently happened to do it anyway.
The junior forward, who has experienced a resurgence of sorts while coming off the bench in recent games, went off for 21 points and eight rebounds as the Gaels (12-8, 9-2 MAAC) won their fourth straight game and second straight against Manhattan, (14-6, 7-4 MAAC) using a 17-3 second half run to pull away to an 85-73 victory.
"We found him," Tim Cluess said of Laury's thriving production, "and he found himself, and I'm really proud of the result, especially in the second half because we played him more minutes than I would have liked to, and he kept his intensity all the way to the end of the game."
Four other Gaels scored in double figures tonight, including Mike Poole, the former Rutgers castoff whose career-high 19 galvanized an Iona effort that Cluess could not help but smile at after the game.
"Anytime you go against your local rival, you're going to be a little more excited about the game," Cluess said. "When you walk into a place like this with the bagpipes going, Marine guards coming out, and the place packed, it's just a great atmosphere," he said in regard to a sellout crowd at the Hynes Center on a night where program legend and former New York Knick Richie Guerin was honored by becoming the first Gael to have his number retired.
Rhamel Brown led Manhattan with 15 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort, marking the first time all year that the Jaspers have lost two games in a row. Manhattan heads back to Draddy Gym on Monday to face Saint Peter's, while Iona begins a three-game road trip that same night, traveling first to Monmouth before making the journey to Buffalo to face Niagara and Canisius later in the week.