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Iona Takes Care of Rider; Stays Perfect in MAAC Play

The Iona Gaels move to a perfect 5-0 in MAAC league play after taking down the Rider Broncs in New Rochelle.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Iona Gaels were able to pull out a hard fought victory over the Rider Broncs on Thursday evening at the Hynes Athletic Center in New Rochelle. The Gaels, lead by Senior A.J. English with a game high 24 points, jumped out to an early 7-0 lead early in the first half. Broncs Junior, Xavier Lundy, would score the first three baskets for the Broncs pulling them to within 12-6 at the first media time out. The Gaels would hold a small lead until two Teddy Okereafor free throws would give the Broncs their first lead of the half, 15-14 which they would carry into the under 12 media time out.

A Shawn Valentine three pointer right out of the break would extend the Rider lead before both teams went ice cold from the field. Over the next seven minutes there would only be six total field goals scored by both teams combined including a Xavier Lundy layup that would give the Broncs a 26-22 lead with 4:00 remaining in the first half. The Gaels, however, would end the half on a 7-3 run capped by an Isaiah Williams three-pointer at the buzzer to head into the locker room tied at 29.

The second half was more of the same with both teams continuing to trade buckets the entire half until they again found themselves tied at 55 with just under five minutes remaining. Back to back layups by Aaron Rountree and English would give the Gaels a four point lead heading into the final media time out, and they would not look back from there. Out of the timeout a Jordan Washington free-throw and an ibn Muhammad three-pointer would extend the Gaels lead to eight forcing a Rider timeout with just over a minute to play. The Gaels were able to ice it from there as Williams and Rountree went a perfect 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute for a hard fought 67-58 victory.

Lundy lead the Broncs in the loss with a team high 19 points, while Kahlil Thomas contributed a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. Joining English in double figures for the Gaels were Williams with 15 points and Jordan Washington with 11 points off the bench.

The Gaels who improved to 8-6 (5-0, MAAC) return to action this Saturday when they take on Marist College at home at 4:00pm. The Broncs fall to 4-11 (0-4, MAAC) and will head back home to take on Fairfield University on Saturday at 7:00pm.