Monmouth (10-15) at Iona (16-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 14, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hynes Athletics Center (2,611) -- New Rochelle, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Monmouth 7-5, Iona 9-2. Away Record: Monmouth 3-10, Iona 7-6. Neutral Record: Monmouth 0-0, Iona 0-0. Conference Record: Monmouth 4-10, Iona 13-2. Series Record: Iona leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Monmouth Hawks will try to fix a five-game losing streak as they travel to face the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-leading Iona Gaels at Hynes Athletics Center.
Monmouth is enduring a rough patch in its first season as a member of the MAAC at 4-10. The Hawks have lost five straight and seven of their last nine games. Monmouth dropped a 61-50 decision to Saint Peter's on Sunday in conference action.
Iona, on the other hand, has been playing spectacularly in the MAAC this season, and is on an eight-game winning streak that the team will look to extend. The Gaels, at 13-2 and in first place in the conference, defeated Saint Peter's on Wednesday, 62-59.
Iona leads the brief all-time series with Monmouth, 3-0. That total includes a Feb. 4 contest in which the Gaels came away with a decisive 89-71 victory.
Monmouth was looking like a solid defensive team in the first half against Saint Peter's Sunday, holding the Peacocks to just 16 first-half points on 27.3 percent shooting from the floor. But the second half was just the opposite for the Hawks, who suffered through an 18.5 percent shooting performance and watched as Saint Peter's rallied for an 11-point win. Andrew Nicholas led the Hawks with 16 points in the game, and Deon Jones contributed 15 with nine rebounds.
Jones is slightly beating out Nicholas for the top spot on the team this season in scoring. Jones checks in with 14.9 ppg, while Nicholas averages 14.2 ppg. Jones leads the team in rebounding at 6.9 rpg, while Tyrone O'Garro is just behind at 6.5 rpg. Justin Robinson tops the squad with 80 assists on the year.
It was a close battle between Iona and Saint Peter's on Wednesday, as the Gaels held just a one-point lead at the end of the first half, and could only extend that lead by another two points when the final buzzer sounded. Still, the Gaels came away victorious for their 13th conference win. David Laury came off the bench and scored a team-high 16 points with eight rebounds in the win, while Mike Poole chipped in 13 and Tre Bowman tallied 10. Iona shot just 38.8 percent from the floor in the contest.
Sean Armand and A.J. English have a pretty solid handle on the team's scoring lead this season. Armand tops the squad with 17.8 ppg on 47 percent shooting from the floor, while English checks in right behind him at 17.5 ppg. English leads the squad with 100 assists on the year, while Laury comes in as the team's leading rebounder at 7.5 rpg and 29 blocked shots. Laury is third in scoring (14.3 ppg) followed by Bowman (12.5 ppg). Iona is averaging an impressive 83.6 ppg this season through 24 games played.
Iona already owns a head-to-head matchup with the Hawks this season, and playing on its home court should only make for more Monmouth trouble. It's becoming very difficult for MAAC teams to slow down the Gaels, let alone stop them.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 79, Monmouth 65
02/14 10:38:24 ET