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Iona (6-6) at St. Bonaventure (7-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 31, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Iona 4-0, St. Bonaventure 5-0. Away Record: Iona 1-3, St. Bonaventure 1-4. Neutral Record: Iona 1-3, St. Bonaventure 1-0. Conference Record: Iona 1-1, St. Bonaventure 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure leads, 10-4.
GAME NOTES: Empire State rivals square off in a New Year's Eve matinee, as the St. Bonaventure Bonnies play host to the Iona Gaels at the Reilly Center.
Iona faced one of its toughest tasks of the season last Friday night when it traveled to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph's, and while it fought hard it eventually lost, 96-91, to fall back to .500 on the year. The Gaels have yet to find much momentum on the campaign, as it has won back-to-back games just once.
The Bonnies also faced a difficult challenge in their latest game on the road against nationally-ranked NC State, falling 92-73. That hasn't spoiled their solid start to the season however, as they have won seven of their first 11 matchups, including all five contests at home.
St. Bonaventure holds a 10-4 advantage in the all-time series with Iona. However, the Gaels came out victorious the last time the two teams met, winning 73-49 in November of 2004.
The Gaels hung tough against the Hawks on Friday, erasing a double-digit, second-half lead to get the game to within just two points in the final minute, but they could not complete the comeback. A 47.3 percent night from the floor was spoiled by a poor showing at the defensive end as Saint Joseph's made nearly 57 percent of its shots overall in the shootout. Lamont Jones (25 points, five assists) and David Laury (21 points, 11 rebounds) were both fantastic in defeat, while Sean Armand added 17 points and six assists and A.J. English chipped in with 11 points and six boards. Iona is no stranger to high point totals this season (81.9 ppg), although unfortunately neither are its opponents (77.5 ppg). At 22.1 ppg, Jones is the nation's sixth-best scorer, doing much of his damage from the foul line (66-of-75). Laury has played in three games since missing the first part of the season due to injury and has been a huge boost to the lineup with 20.7 ppg and 11.7 rpg. Armand (18.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.3 apg) rounds out one of the best scoring trios in the country.
It was an uncharacteristically poor game at the defensive end of the floor for the Bonnies in their 19-point loss to NC State, as they allowed the Wolfpack to shoot a lofty 57.1 percent from the field. Despite the setback, Eric Mosley scored 18 points while making 5-of-9 from 3-point range, and Youssou Ndoye also showed a spark off the bench with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. St. Bonaventure has typically been much stronger across the board this year, boasting a plus-7.4 scoring margin while also consistently winning the rebounding (plus-2.9) and turnover (plus-2.2) battles. Chris Johnson is the unit's leading scorer with 13.7 ppg on 49.1 percent shooting, while Demitrius Conger is hot on his heels with 13.5 ppg. Eric Mosley chips in 10.5 ppg, with the majority of his damage coming from long range, as he's drained 28 3- pointers at a 49.1 percent clip.
Iona is finally at full strength with Laury back in the lineup, but it still has shown some glaring holes at the defensive end. The Bonnies may not be as flashy as the Gaels, but at home they will put together a solid game plan to curb the scoring from Iona's big three.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 80, Iona 74
12/31 10:31:38 ET