College Basketball: Big Iona Win at Garden, Niagara Friday Finally at Home

Ken KraetzerCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2012

Sean Armand's Big Night at MSG (K.Kraetzer)
Sean Armand's Big Night at MSG (K.Kraetzer)

Sean Armand came off the Iona bench to score 32 points as the Gaels defeated Siena 95-59 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Gaels, now 11-3 and unbeaten in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, finally return home to New Rochelle Friday night for a 9 p.m. ESPN broad-casted game against Niagara.

For Sean Armand this was a night to remember as he set both Iona and MAAC conference records by making ten three point shots in 19 attempts. A remarkable performance on the big stage of "The Garden," the place every New York City basketball player dreams of playing and hearing the roar of the crowd.

The Gaels trailed early in the game to the Saints 19-17 but went on a torrid 40-12 run in the final 13:36 of the first half to take 57-13 halftime lead.

The Gaels had an amazing 57 points off the bench including 16 from senior Jermel Jenkins. Early last year Jenkins started as the two guard but now plays behind Lamont "Momo" Jones.

"Momo" Jones, the point guard on last year's Arizona "Elite Eight" team, led Iona starters with 14 points and seven assists. Jones was given a waiver to play immediately because he needed to move back closer to an ailing family member in New York City.

Mike Glover, the preseason MAAC Player of the Year had a quiet night by his standards with 10 points and five rebounds, but provided four blocked shots to the defense.

Iona point guard Scott Machado came into the game as the nation's leader with 10.4 assists per game, had a near triple double combination of nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists in 28 minutes.

Siena now 5-8 and 0-3 in the MAAC was led by the 22 points of guard Evan Hymes and 12 from forward O.D. Anosike.

Technically a home game for Iona, the MSG date concluded a nine-game span away from its home court in New Rochelle, NY that covered the month of December. The Gaels won seven of the nine with note able overtime wins at Denver and Vermont. They won both conference games at Canisius and and Niagara, both games in Virginia against Richmond and Maryland. They lost at Marshall looking exhausted and last week at Hofstra in a sluggish post Christmas performance.

The Gaels now 11-3 return home to New Rochelle on Friday night to play Niagara.

Two other notable NYC area basketball wins Tuesday night were Fordham's 60-54 win over No. 22 Harvard and Seton Hall's 75-63 home win over No. 8 Connecticut.

Ken Kraetzer covers Iona basketball and West Point football for WVOX radio in New Rochelle, NY and Sons of the American Legion Radio.  His Twitter address is SAL50NYRadio.