Iona lost out on a golden opportunity to get a win versus talented, but raw Purdue team this afternoon at the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The 91-90 defeat was especially difficult because it basically was decided by two last-season heaves. Purdue’s at the end of the first half went in, Iona’s at the end of the game was wide left.
As you can probably guess, it was the defense that did Iona in. The Gaels allowed 91 points in 80 possessions against the Boilermakers. The biggest problem was that the Gaels forced only seven turnovers.
Purdue also collected 12 offensive rebounds, which was a fine total, but in the net aggregate that meant the Boilermakers had five extra possessions to get open shots.
There were some positive signs for the Gaels offensively. While Iona’s last opportunity in the offensive half ended with a turnover by Lamont “Momo” Jones, overall he played well in his debut. He was Iona’s leading scorer with 17 points and shot 6-12 overall from the field. His ability off the ball gave Scott Machado opportunities to make plays and Machado finished with 11 assists and 14 points before fouling.
Note: I’ll be doing a full analysis of Jones and Machado playing together on the court this weekend.
Unfortunately, it was probably Machado fouling out that cost Iona. Without him to be the play-maker on the final play Jones had the ball in his hands and Purdue played excellent defense for one possession, which in this case was just enough.
Quick notes: Taj Ridley also had a strong debut for Iona with 16 points and 12 rebounds … Robbie Hummel looked healthy, scoring 24 points, including the game-winner … Mike Glover had 13 points and 12 boards, but he didn’t dominate … Iona now plays Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3 … The Gaels should be hoping for a Wichita State loss tonight, with Alabama crushing Maryland at the moment that’s the best way for the Gaels to get another quality opponent in Puerto Rico.