Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bowman's 28 Vaults Gaels Into Semis

Tre Bowman continues string of big games at MassMutual Center, leading all scorers with 28 points in Iona's 94-71 win over Rider. (Photo courtesy of Big Apple Buckets)

Tre Bowman must love Springfield.

After all, the senior swingman had arguably the game of his life at the MassMutual Center almost a year ago, scoring 20 points off the bench as his Iona team celebrated a conference championship over bitter rival Manhattan, an eruption that left some wondering what he would do for an encore.

In his first game back at the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame since the Gaels won their MAAC title, Bowman was even more efficient, leading all scorers with 28 points; one off his career high, as Iona (21-9) advanced to their fourth straight MAAC Tournament semifinal with a 94-71 thrashing of Rider, (14-17) with the Gaels now awaiting either Canisius or Siena.

"All of our players can score the ball," Bowman said after his latest day to remember, "and we're not selfish. When that happens, good things happen."

Iona had three other players score in double figures, including David Laury's 18-point, 11- rebound double-double, and the Gaels' defensive effort was even stronger, holding Rider's Daniel Stewart to just 12 points after the Philadelphia native scored 25 in the Broncs' opening round win over Monmouth.

"We were playing such good defense that it made it tough on them to get early looks," Iona head coach Tim Cluess remarked. "I think we fed off of that. I was proud of my guys on both sides of the floor."

With the win, the top-seeded Gaels now await their next opponent, but Iona is aware of their status as the hunted regardless of who meets them.

"I think the biggest difference is the target," Cluess stated. "Everyone's shooting at you. We kind of embrace that."

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