NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Iona scored the first seven points, led 26-8 at the second media timeout, and cruised from there in a 93-60 victory over Siena Basketball at a sold-out Hynes Athletics Center Sunday afternoon.
Walter Clayton, Jr. and Daniss Jenkins led five players in double figures with 18 points apiece for Iona (22-7, 15-3), which locked up its league-record 12th MAAC Regular Season Championship and the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. Clayton added seven of the Gaels’ 13 steals, while Jenkins dished out six of Iona’s 21 assists.
Freshman reserve Michael Eley scored a team-high 12 points for Siena (17-12, 11-7) which concludes a forgettable 2-5 February having lost three straight for the first time all season. Classmate Zek Tekin added career-highs of 10 points and four steals off the bench for the shorthanded Saints who received 34 of their 60 points from reserves. Siena was without MAAC Defensive Player of the Year contender Jared Billups who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Iona led by as many as 28 in a dominant first half in which they led 44-21 at the break. The Gaels’ suffocating defense forced 16 first-half turnovers leading to 22 points while holding Siena to just 25% shooting.
The Saints never got any closer than 19 in the second half, with the final score marking the largest margin of the afternoon.
Five-time MAAC Player of the Week Nelly Junior Joseph added 14 points, nine rebounds, and was a +38 for Iona, which has won nine straight by an average of 17.7 points following a 17-point drubbing at the hands of the Saints on Jan. 27 in Albany. Reserve Anton Brookshire (12 points, 4-5 from three) and Berrick Jean-Louis (10 points) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Gaels who have won 25 of their last 26 in New Rochelle.
Siena, which ends the day where it began – in third place – had one positive to take out of Sunday as second-place Rider, fourth-place Quinnipiac, and fifth-place Niagara each lost at home to teams below them in the standings. Thus, the Saints remain just one game back of the Broncs with two games remaining, as well as a game clear of the Bobcats and a game-and-a-half clear of the Purple Eagles.
Siena will look to get back on track and open March on a high note when they host Manhattan for Senior Night Thursday at 7 p.m. at MVP Arena. Festivities will get underway at approximately 6:45 p.m.