LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels turned the primary group within the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s historical past to beat an AP top-10 group after upsetting No. 10 Alabama 72-68 on Thursday evening.
Nelly Junior Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. made key free throws within the last seconds to elevate Iona within the opening-round sport on the ESPN Events Invitational.
Clayton acquired an offensive rebound and made 1 of two free throws to make it 70-68 with 20 seconds left. After Jahvon Quinerly missed a shot for Alabama, Joseph secured the win with two free throws with 9 seconds remaining.
MAAC groups are actually 1-119 in video games in opposition to an AP top-10 squad. Pitino has now defeated a top-10 group at 4 totally different colleges (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville, Iona).
“I’m happy for the guys,” Pitino said. “They are nice guys to teach. I’m actually, actually excited, pleased for them.”
Tyson Jolly had 13 factors, Elijah Joiner 12 and Quinn Slazinski 11 for Iona (6-0). Alabama (4-1) acquired 19 factors from Jaden Shackelford. Quinerly added 15.
“It was one of our first goals, and we accomplished it,” Jolly said. “Our purpose was to start out the 12 months 6-0 and we did that tonight.”
Joiner hit a 3 to place Iona up 69-65, however Shackelford linked from lengthy vary to make it a one-point sport with 56 seconds to go.
Joseph made two free throws throughout an 11-3 run to present Iona a 59-57 benefit. Alabama’s Darius Miles responded with a layup, however Jolly made a 3 to place Iona again forward 62-59 on the 4-minute mark. Shackelford’s 3 put Alabama forward 54-48.
Iona received regardless of a 4 ½-minute stretch early within the second half and not using a discipline purpose. Alabama was up 33-29 on the half, which matched the largest lead in the course of the opening 20 minutes.
Pitino thought a key for Iona was to restrict Alabama’s 3-point manufacturing. The Crimson Tide made simply 4 in 12 tries.
“If we might restrict them from numerous 3s, I felt we had a shot,” Pitino mentioned. Alabama entered averaging 10.8 3-pointers a sport.
The win serves as revenge for the Gaels, who misplaced to Alabama within the first spherical of final season’s NCAA event.
Iona will play in a semifinal Friday in opposition to Belmont whereas Alabama drops into the comfort spherical to tackle Drake.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.