By Matt Lisella (@Matty_Ice42)
Special To Daly Dose Of Hoops
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Iona outlasted Ohio University, 79-75, Saturday afternoon; in large part to a 16-point second half from junior Jan Svandrlik, to improve to 6-3 on the year.
Svandrlik shot 5-of-6 from three-point range (6-of-8 overall) and added five rebounds in his 19-point performance against the Bobcats (5-2). He knocked down a three in the middle of a 9-0 run by the Gaels, and then another just a moment later to retake the lead. Down 70-65 with just five-and-a-half minutes to play, he nailed back-to-back threes again, and then two free throws to give the Gaels a three-point lead.
“He’s been really struggling. He’s been in the gym for extra hours every single morning, night, you name it, and he finally had a good one for himself,” head coach Tim Cluess said. “He can leave now today now feeling good, and we may have found another player in our rotation.”
Jordan Washington, whose 30 points led the Gaels, also had an excellent performance against one of the better mid-major big-men in the nation, reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Antonio Campbell.
“Coach (Jared) Grasso was like, ‘Jordan, that’s the best big you’re gonna play throughout the season,’” Washington said of Campbell, who entered today's contest averaging 19.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. “I told Grasso, ‘I’m not scared of nobody, I’m not scared of no big. I’m gonna fight regardless, out-strong you or out-big you I don’t care. I’m still gonna be the better big in that paint.’”
Campbell had 12 points in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, but only had four in the second half. He also had nine rebounds.
Washington scored 16 of his game-high 30 in the first as well. The senior forward used a combination of craftiness, skill and pure strength on his way to shooting 13-of-18 from the floor for the Gaels.
Freshman EJ Crawford scored a career-high 15 points and knocked down two-three pointers while shooting 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Crawford scored the last four for the Maroon & Gold. Sophomore guard Rickey McGill also had a career night for the Gaels, playing 35 minutes and dishing out 12 assists in the victory.
“That’s what Rickey has to be for us. He can be--as he develops--a Scott Machado-type player,” Cluess said. “He’s really, really athletic. He’s learning the point guard spot. The hardest thing for a scoring guard to do as a point guard to do is know when he should take it and when he should pass it.”
Iona’s four-point victory gives them two wins in a row before they host NJIT on Wednesday and then participate in the South Point Las Vegas Hoops Classic on December 21 and 22.