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Iona point guard Scott Machado
We’ll never know, but it is quite possible that Iona was a half-court buzzer-beater away from a shot at taking the Tip-Off title.
A three from mid-court by Purdue’s Kelsey Barlow at the end of the first half tied the game against Iona, a game which Purdue went on to win by one, thanks to another late three by Robbie Hummel. As a result, Purdue went onto the semifinal round and eventually the final, before losing to Alabama.
Despite being pushed to the consolation bracket, Iona still made the most of things, going 2-1 on the weekend. The Gaels bounced back nicely with wins over Western Michigan and Maryland—the latter of which was by an impressive 26 points. For the tournament, Iona averaged 91—yes, 91—points per game.
Iona has a three-headed monster that very few mid-majors—not just this year, but in quite a while—can present. The addition of Arizona transfer Lamont “MoMo” Jones provides a second elite-level scorer, along with Mike Glover. Jones scored 17 against Purdue and 22 in the blowout over Maryland. Speaking of Glover, he had a solid, if not headlining performance in San Juan averaging just under 15 points and nine boards a game.
The other piece of the aforementioned monster is probably the most valuable of the three—point guard Scott Machado. The senior put on an absolute passing clinic in the tournament, dishing out 15 assists in the Gaels’ back-to-back wins. Machado clearly is enjoying the fact that he now has two great scorers he can get the ball to, and not to mention he isn’t a bad scorer himself, with 15.3 points per game in the tournament.
During the championship telecast, ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb called him, “the best point guard in the nation right now." That might be hard to argue after seeing his outstanding play in San Juan.
Suppose that half-court shot Thursday doesn’t go? You never know how the rest of that game changes, but it’s very possible that the game goes the other way, and Iona faces Temple in the semis.
Temple always plays solid defense, but Iona’s relentless offense may have been too much for the Owls to handle. While Alabama’s D is playing at an extremely high level in the early season, it would have been a fun matchup to see them against the high-octane Iona offense. Perhaps we’ll get a chance to see them meet in March.