LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels became the first team in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history to beat a Top 10 AP team after knocking down No 10 Alabama 72-68 Thursday evening.
Clayton got an offensive rebound and made one of two free throws to bring the score to 70-68 with 20 seconds left. After Jahvon quinerly Missing a shot for Alabama, Joseph secured the victory with two free throws with 9 seconds remaining.
MAAC teams are now 1-119 in matches against a Top-10 AP team. Pitino has now beaten a top 10 team at four different schools (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville, Iona).
Joiner hit a 3 to give Iona a 69-65 lead, but Shackelford connected at long distance to make it a one-point game with 56 seconds left.
Joseph made two free throws in an 11-3 run to give Iona a 59-57 advantage. Alabama Darius Miles responded with a layup, but Jolly rolled a 3 to give Iona the lead 62-59 in the 4th minute. Shackelford’s 3 gave Alabama the lead 54-48.
Iona won despite a 4.5-minute streak at the start of the second half without a basket. Alabama were leading 33-29 at halftime, which was the biggest lead in the first 20 minutes.
The victory serves as a rematch for the Gaels, who lost to Alabama in the first round of last season’s NCAA tournament.
Iona will play in the semi-finals on Friday against winner Belmont-Drake as Alabama advance to the consolation round to face the loser of that game.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this story.