NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Iona shot 55% in the second half and forced 18 turnovers in total as the Gaels prevailed 74-57 over Siena Basketball in a matchup of the past two MAAC Tournament Champions at the Hynes Athletics Center. Colby Rogers scored a game-high 17 points to pace the Saints.

A quartet scored in double figures as part of a balanced attack for Iona (17-3, 9-0), who is off to the MAAC’s best conference start since Siena (6-8, 3-3) started 14-0 in league action to open the 2009-10 season. Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Elijah Joiner, Nelly Junior Joseph, and reserve Ryan Myers each scored 13 points apiece to lead the Gaels, who have won 15 straight against MAAC opponents dating back to last season.

Rogers, who entered play ranked 31st nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.427) and second in the MAAC in threes per game (2.67), shot 5-8 from distance and 6-11 overall for the Saints. Aidan Carpenter came off the bench to score 11 of his 13 points in the second half, while fellow reserve Jayce Johnson added a spirited six-point, eight-rebound effort.

Iona held a 29-21 advantage following a defensive-minded first half. Siena rallied within as close as six on a pair of occasions early in the second half – and trailed by just seven at 37-30 with 15:59 remaining – but the Gaels answered with an 11-2 spurt to push the lead to 16 and didn’t look back.

Iona ultimately led by as many as 25 as the Gaels’ smothering defense swiped 13 steals and blocked 11 shots, as Rick Pitino improved to a perfect 7-0 against the Saints in his Hall of Fame head coaching career.

Tyson Jolly chipped in 12 points for Iona who has won six straight and 11 of 12. The Gaels received one vote in this week’s Associated Press Top-25 Poll, and are ranked third in the latest Mid-Major Top-25 Poll.

After playing just six times over a 49-day span due to final exams, the holiday break, and a COVID interruption, Siena returns to the Capital Region to continue its six-game, 12-day road stretch. The Saints open a season-long four-game homestand spanning just seven days when they host Niagara Friday night at 7 p.m. at MVP Arena. 

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