NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona junior guard Lamont Jones scored a career-high 43 points and senior Scott Machado posted a double-double with 14 points and 14 assists as the host Gaels defeated Canisius College 105-86 Thursday night in the Hynes Athletic Center. Iona improved to 18-5 overall and 10-2 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 4-18 overall and 1-11 in MAAC games.
Four Canisius players registered double figures in the scoring column, led by junior Gaby Belardo and his team-high 27 points. Fellow junior Alshwan Hymes scored 23 points, while junior Harold Washington was good for 13 points and three assists in the loss. Freshman Josiah Heath had 12 points and recorded a team-high eight rebounds for the Blue and Gold, who have dropped six straight.
Jones, who transferred to Iona from the University of Arizona, set the Hynes Athletic Center single-game scoring record with his 43 points after he went 16-for-23 from the field, 7-for-12 from 3-point range and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line to go with two assists and three steals in 35 minutes of action. Machado, who leads the nation in assists per game average, added six rebounds to his 14 points and 14 assists. Senior forward Mike Glover posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds as the host Gaels out rebounded Canisius by a 35-31 clip.
"We came here tonight not only to compete, but to win the game," Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said. "We were right there with them until the 12-minute media timeout in the second half and then they started to pull away. They shot the ball unbelievably well in the second half and that was really the difference. I give credit to [Lamont] Momo Jones, he had 43 points and it seemed like everything he threw up there went in. Seeing what a transfer like that can do only makes me more excited to welcome Isaac Sosa, Freddy Asprilla and Jordan Heath into the mix next year. That is the type of firepower you need to win this league. But I credit our guys tonight because they were aggressive throughout and battled to the very end. We will continue to work hard and remain positive and upbeat, because we are a work in progress."
With 14:27 left on the clock, Washington knotted the game at 67-67 with a one-handed jam after he sliced through the lane for two of his 13 points. Iona regained the lead moments later when Glover scored on an offensive rebound, but Hymes answered with a jumper in the paint on Canisius' next possession to tie the game at 69-69, the 13th tie of the contest. That, however, would be as close as the Griffs would come the rest of the way. Jones tipped in a rebound off a missed Iona jumper to give the Gaels a 71-69 lead, and that bucket started a 10-0 run for the home team over the game's next 1:43 that put Iona ahead 79-69 with 11:34 left on the clock. During that run, Jones accounted for eight of Iona's 10 points, with six of those coming off two made 3-pointers.
The opening moments of the game were a good indication as to what the night would hold, as the lead went back-and-forth with the Blue and Gold holding a 12-9 lead at the first media timeout 4:21 into the contest. The first half featured seven lead changes and six ties, and Iona held the lead's largest cushion at 48-42 with 1:20 left before the break before Hymes nailed a triple from the left wing with 55 seconds left before the intermission to make the score 48-45 in favor of Iona. Jones knocked down a 3-pointer at his end of the floor, but not to be outdone, Belardo knifed through the paint and laid one over the front iron with three ticks left on the clock to send the teams into the locker room with Iona holding a 51-47 advantage.
The Griffs shot a season-high 52.5 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the loss. Iona, which entered the game as the sixth-best field goal shooting team in the nation, shot 56.3 percent from the floor and 52 percent from long range. Canisius turned the ball over 16 times against Iona's six mistakes, and the Gaels made the Griffs pay as they ended the night with a 23-4 advantage on points scored off turnovers.
Canisius will close out its weekend on the road Saturday night when the team plays at Marist. Tipoff in the McCann Arena is set for 7 p.m.
Game Notes: This was the 58th all-time meeting between these two schools, and Iona now leads the series 31-27... The Gaels swept the regular-season series from the Griffs for the first time since 2008-09 campaign... The 86 points for Canisius are the most for the team in a loss since the Griffs fell to Niagara in overtime by a score of 89-88 on Feb. 13, 2007... Iona is the first team to score 100 points against Canisius since Rider had 102 Jan. 6, 2008... All-time, Canisius has played in a game where 100 points or more were scored 83 times... Belardo's 27 points were a season high for him and he fell two points shy of tying his career high of 29 points in a game, which he set at Siena Jan. 17, 2011... Belardo made a career-high six 3-pointers for the Blue and Gold on the night, besting his career high of four makes from behind the arc in a game, which he had accomplished twice before... Hymes' 23 points marks the fourth time this year and the fifth time in his career he's been good for 20-or more in a game... Heath has eight rebounds in four of the team's last six contests.