Iona improved on the season to 15-10 and 9-5 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference holding off a last minute challenge by Siena to win 69-65 in New Rochelle on Friday night.
The Gaels two wins this week and Rider's loss to Canisius move the two teams into a tie at for third place in the MAAC at 9-5.
The leading scorer in the MAAC Mike Glover led the Gels with 22 Points, six rebounds, and four steals. Jonathan Breeder was the leading scorer in the game with 24 points fro the Saints. Siena is now 10-14 on the year and 7-7 in the MAAC.
In other MAAC action Friday Night:
Niagara defeated Loyola 59-57
Fairfield defeated Manhattan 65-56
Canisius defeated Rider 67-65
Saint Peter's defeated Marist 66-54
The Gaels came into Friday night's game coming off a 85-67 win over Manhattan on Monday which broke a conference streak in which they lost four in a row by a total of 11 points. They badly wanted to put a new winning streak together.
In the Manhattan game, Mike Glover gave the Gaels a big game with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Forward Alejo Rodriquez, coming back from offseason hip surgery, also had 10 rebounds along with 11 points for his own double-double. Junior Point Guard Scott Machado had 10 assists left him second in the NCAA with 7.5 "Assists Per Game".
The Gaels lead the MAAC in scoring with an average of 78.2 points per game.
Junior forward Mike Glover leads the MAAC in scoring with an average of 19.1 points per game.
Iona is eighth in the MAAC in defense with opponents scoring 69.8 points per game.
Coach Tim Cluess preaches improvement on defense as the Gaels rank eighth giving up an average of 69.8 points per game.
Mike Glover has been a big factor for the Gaels under the back boards averaging 10.6 rebounds per game.
The Gaels went out to an 8-0 lead on three-point jumpers by Jermel Jenkins and Rashon Dwight and a layup by Alejo Rodriquez.
The Gaels led by nine with 7:25 left in the half before Siena tied the score at 32-32 with 30 seconds left in the half on a layup by Ryan Rossiter. Alejo Rodriquez gave the Gaels the halftime lead 34-32 with a layup.
In the second half Iona pulled out to an eight point lead at 10:16 on two three-point shots by Jermel Jenkins and a foul line jumper by Mike Glover. The Gaels expanded their lead to 13 with 5:43 to go on a three-point shot by Rashon Dwight.
Missed foul shots by the Gaels down the stretch allowed Siena to cut the lead to three with 11 seconds to play. Mike Glover hit a free throw with six seconds left to apparently ice the game, but Alejo Rodriquez was called on a controversial elbow foul.
Siena's Ryan Rossiter made the free throw to cut it back to a three point lead with six seconds left. This time Jermel Jenkins hit a free throw to give the Gaels a four point margin which they held on to for a 69-65 win.
Mike Glover has been very aggressive in his inside play for the Gaels and had another dominating performance against Siena scoring 22 points on eight field goals including a number of dunks and made six of seven from the free throw line.
The 6' 7" inch forward from the Bronx, added six rebounds and four steals while having only one personal foul in 39 minutes.
Jermel Jenkins from Union, NJ played a big role with 32 minutes and scoring 19 points. Jermel scored six of 12 from the field including five three-point shots and two of four from the free throw line.
The junior guard contributed five rebounds in the game including four from the defensive side.
Senior Guard Rashon Dwight started and played 34 minutes in what became at times a four guard lineup for Coach Tim Cluess' Gaels.
Rashon had eight points on the night including two three-point shots. He also contributed five defensive rebounds and two assists.
Sophomore Siena guard Jonathan Breeder (#32) from Harrisburg, PA led all scorers in the game with 24 points. He hit 10 of 14 field goals including three three-point shots and and was one of three on free throws.
Alejo Rodriquez has been demonstrating ability to play above the rim in recent games as he recovers from offseason hip surgery.
Against Siena, the 6'8" forward had four offensive, six defensive rebounds and one blocked shot in 34 minutes for the Gaels.
Scott Machado did not start the game for the Gaels which was unusual, and he played just 20 minutes against Siena, generating four points on 1-4 from the floor and 2-7 from the foul line.
He did set up five scores with assists while in the game and had a steal.
Look for Scott to bounce back from an off game against Marist on Sunday.
Sophomore Kyle Smyth from River Edge, NJ is building a reputation as a fine defensive player often generating charging fouls against the opposition.
Against Siena he connected on two three-point shots, grabbed three rebounds and produced a steal.
The victory over Siena was the 400th of Tim Cluess' career which started at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, NY in 1991.
At the high school level, Coach Cluess had a record of 265-78 in 14 years. He then went 22-6 at Suffolk CC before starting a four year run at C.W. Post also on Long Island where he had the outstanding record of 98-23.
The Gaels win over Siena coupled with Rider's loss to Canisus moves the Gaels into a third place tie with the Broncs in the MAAC standings going into Sunday action.
Rider will host Niagara at 2 PM while Iona will play at Marist at 4 PM.