Rick Pitino & Iona Gaels Make MAAC Men’s Hoop History With Surprise From Alabama No.10

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.

Nelly Junior Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. delivered key free throws in the dying seconds to lift Iona in the ESPN Events Invitational first round match.

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).

Tyson jolly had 13 points, Élie Carpenter 12 and Quinn Slazinski 11 for Iona (6-0). Alabama (4-1) got 19 points Jaden shackelford. Quinerly added 15.

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.

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