Iona started its annual weekend road trip to western New York with a 72-66 win at Niagara Friday night but then lost for the first time in six games Sunday against Canisius 75-73.
Against Niagara, the Gaels led throughout, holding a 33-27 lead at the half. The Purple Eagles staged a second half comeback, going on a 15-5 run to tie the score at 42-42 at the 5:01 mark of the second half with 14:59 to play.
Iona freshman Sean Armand gave Iona offense off the bench with nine points in 89 seconds on three-point shots. Rashon Dwight, Mike Glover and Trinity Fields made key free throws down the stretch to ice the game for the Gaels.
Demonstrating a highly accurate jump shot all season, Armand provided the Gaels a spark of offense with 15 points. Scott Machado, a junior from Queens, NY, provided 13 points, while Kyle Smyth had 12 and Dwight had 10 points. Mike Glover had a big night under the boards with 17 rebounds. The junior transfer added 10 points for his 12th double-double of the year.
Niagara, now 4-16 overall and 1-7 in the MAAC, was led by sophomore Eric Williams, who had 18 points and nine rebounds, while senior Anthony Nelson provided 17 points and six assists.
Armand was named the prior week's MAAC Rookie of the Week for averaging 19.5 points in Gael wins at Rider and at home versus Marist. The Brooklyn, NY native had 22 points versus Marist, which included an Iona rookie record six three-point shots. Over the two games Armand made 15 of 19 shots (78.9 percent) from the field, and on three-point attempts the 6'3" guard was 9-of-13 (69.2 percent).
Armand joins three fellow Gaels who have received MAAC weekly honors this year. Kyle Smyth, Mike Glover and Scott Machado have been recognized for a total of six MAAC weekly honors so far this season.
Iona had its five-game winning streak broken Sunday afternoon by Canisius 75-73 in Buffalo on a last-second layup by the Golden Griffins' Gaby Belardo.
Iona trailed in the game by five points 72-67 with 30 seconds left in the game when Sean Armand hit a three-point shot, and a moment later Iona's Jermel Jenkins tied the game with another three-point shot before Belardo's game-winner.
Machado had 17 points in the game, Jenkins 14 and Smyth 13. Junior Mike Glover had another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Iona is now 13-7 on the year and 7-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Gaels are now second in the conference by one game to Fairfield. They play Rider, 6-3 in the MAAC and 14-7 overall, Thursday night at home in New Rochelle.
Ken Kraetzer is a graduate of Providence College and holds an MBA from Iona College. He covers the Gaels for WVOX 1460 AM and WVOX.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.