After missing Wednesday's game vs. Rider, David Laury returned with career-high 30 points in Iona's 91-84 win over Indiana State. (Photo courtesy of Big Apple Buckets)
David Laury was the center of attention before Iona's last game this past Wednesday, but for the wrong reasons, when it was announced that the senior forward would miss the Gaels' contest against Rider due to a violation of team rules.
Today, Laury was back in Tim Cluess' lineup, and once again made headlines, this time under his own volition.
Behind a career-high 30 points and 11 rebounds from the man voted Preseason Player of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Iona (6-3) overcame a 15-point deficit, relying on Laury's 11-of-15 shooting and staunch team defense in the second half to defeat an upset-minded Indiana State (3-6) squad by the final of 91-84 at the Hynes Center.
"No comment," Laury said when asked about the events that precluded him from taking the floor Wednesday night. "I just want to talk about the game. I just wanted to have my teammates' back(s) like they had my back (in the) last game vs. Rider."
In addition to what could be considered Laury's finest performance in a maroon and gold jersey, Isaiah Williams rewrote his record book as well, scoring a career-best 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting, and 6-of-13 from three-point range as Iona was able to steer their ship in the right direction after Indiana State opened the game shooting 72 percent from the field, making all but five of their first 18 shots to start.
"Isaiah was great from the start, and Dave gave us a great second half," Cluess remarked. "Those two came through."
On an afternoon where A.J. English, the nation's leading scorer who had a 30-point game Wednesday night against Rider, was held to just eight markers on a 1-for-11 shooting display, the contributions of Laury and Williams may not be any further appreciated than they were today in New Rochelle, as Indiana State looked to be driving away with a shocking road win in the early going, leading 44-29 with 3:35 remaining in the first half. But a combination of poor execution and stout Iona defense flustered the visiting Sycamores heading into the locker room, as the Gaels only trailed 48-42 at the intermission following a 13-4 run to close out the opening stanza.
"We cut it to a manageable number, I thought," Cluess said of the spurt to end the first half, one in which Iona was able to go 2-for-1 in the final minute after Indiana State forced up a shot with the shot clock already turned off. "Once we saw that number, we knew we had a chance to get back in the game. We just said if we could get it to single digits, we'd have a chance in this game."
Khristian Smith led the Sycamores with 24 points in the losing effort, one of four Indiana State players in double figures on a day where their head coach lamented what could have been.
"We played harder, we played better," said Greg Lansing, "but playing hard is a minimum. You have to earn victories. We just didn't make enough plays in the second half, (and) I think we gave them a really good shot in the arm."
For the winners, it was a testimonial to their abundance of talent, which will only serve them well as the season continues on, beginning with next Saturday's road trip to George Mason.
"Today was a different style of game," Laury revealed. "We can play in a lot of different ways. All of us know our capabilities. Any one of us can score 20 on any given night."
Cluess echoed his senior leader's sentiment, also offering that his team is still progressing through what remains a young 2014-15 campaign. "The more different style teams you face that are good," he added, "the more you're ready for anything. It's an early process still."
"Tonight, we had several people step up for us, and that was huge. If you're going to be good, you have to have more than one guy."