Iona College moved into first place in the Metro Atlantic Conference standings with weekend wins at Rider and over Marist.
The Gaels are now 6-1 in the MAAC and 12-6 overall after getting off to an 0-3 start on the year.
Friday night, the Gaels held on for an exciting 100 to 96 overtime win at Rider in New Jersey.
Sunday the Gaels dominated through out a 79-41 win over Marist which saw coach Tim Cluess utilize his bench extensively. Freshman Sean Armand led the Gaels with 22 points off the bench demonstrating an accurate three point shot.
Junior newcomer Mike Glover coming off MAAC Player of the Week honors contributed nine rebounds versus Marist.
Guard Scott Machado had six points and eight assists versus Marist. Machado is second in the NCAA averaging 8.4 assists per game.
Freshman Sean Armond had a big weekend contributing 17 points Friday night and 22 more on Sunday including six of eight three-point shots.
The Gaels next week travel out to western New York State for games versus Niagara and Canisus.
Ken Kraetzer covered West Point football this fall for WVOX and SAL Radio and holds an MBA from Iona. He attended Iona's greatest win ever over eventual national champion Louisville at Madison Square Garden in 1980.
Junior Scott Machado is second in the NCAA and leads the MAAC with 8.4 assists per game.
He is averaging 14.4 points per game and is approaching 1000 points in his Iona career. He had his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 assists against Loyola. He was the first player in the NCAA Division I to reach 100 assists and has a good chance to reach a record 200 assists.
Machado had 120 career steals including 31 this season second in the MAAC.
Mike Glover had his 11th double-double of the season at Rider. He leads the MAAC in scoring with 21.5 ppg and is second in rebounding with 10.5 per game.
Glover was recognized with his fourth MAAC Player of the Week for his efforts versus Siena, Saint Peters and Loyola.
Senior guard Rashon Dwight has been a top contributor since being added to the starting lineup after a major effort versus Vermont on Dec. 22. He is averaging 12 points per game, while shooting 43.5 from the field and 50 percent on eight of 16 from the beyond the three point line. He has added 3.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Dwight's defensive skills were noted versus Hofstra and Saint Peters when his play guarding the top scorers for those teams enabled Iona to build leads.
He made the winning basket Friday night against Rider then added two critical free throws to ice the game.
Tim Cluess has stressed defense since taking over the Gaels in April 2010 from Kevin Willard who departed for the Big East and Seton Hall.
Cluess brings 20 years coaching expereince to New Rochelle after 14 years coaching at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset NY, a season at Suffolk Community College and the last four years at C.W. Post all on Long Island. His last season at C.W.Post his team had a record of 23-6 and won their last 19 of 21 games and for the fourth year in a row a berth in the East Coast Conference Championship game.
In 2008-2009 Cluess's C.W.Post team won its second-straight ECC regular season and tournament title. They won the NCAA East Regional Championship and lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals to eventual National Champion Findlay University.
A tall guard at 6'4", Kyle Smyth has stood out for his defensive play this season often setting up to draw charging fouls from opponents that can leave him flat on the hardwood.
Smyth had a breakout game with 29 points versus Albany on Nov. 23 for which he was named MAAC Co-Player of the Week. This was the first Iona player to win this recognition since Steve Burtt in 2006.
The River Edge, NJ native is averaging 11.7 points per game for the Gaels in 2010-2011.
Alejo Rodriquez provides leadership to the Gaels as one of two seniors on the Gael squad. The New York City native is averaging 6.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Rodriquez was named to the All MAAC Preseason Third Team.
His career best offensive game was in 2007 with 19 vs. Canisius. In January 2010, he had 17 rebounds at Rider.
Iona Dancers Perform at Marist Game
Junior guard Jermal Jenkins came off he bench to launch a key three point basket to help Iona build an early lead against Marist.
Jenkins is averaging 9.7 points per game and 2.7 rebounds while averaging over 30 minutes per game this season for the Gaels. The Union, NJ native can play both point and two guard. He has contributed 37 three points shots, 53 assists, and 21 steals on the year. His top offensive performance was against Albany scoring 21 on Nov. 23.
Iona has rare depth at the center-forward positions with 6' 10" 240 pound sophomore Chris Pelcher able to spell or play in combination with Mike Glover and Alejo Rodriquez.
The Albany native is averaging over eight minutes per game this year and has demonstrated good hands in grabbing 27 rebounds. The Gaels look very strong under the boards when Pelcher is in the game.
Iona freshman, Sean Armond, demonstrated a solid jump shot making six of eight attempts in contributing 22 points to the Gael effort Sunday against Marist.
Friday night against Rider, he added 17 points.
The Brooklyn NY native played at Jacqueline K. Onasis High School in NYC.
Mike Glover and Chris Pelcher Go for Block
Iona junior, Trinity Fields, can play both guard positions. His best career game was against 13 points scored vs. South Florida 2008.
Fields had a key rebound in a double OT win over Richmond and his defensive play was recognized during 12 minutes playing time vs. Hofstra on Dec. 29.
Iona Season Has A Lot To Cheer For