Jermel Jenkins drilled seven three-point shots to lead the Iona Gaels’ barrage from downtown that buried the visiting Buffalo Bulls in the CollegeInsider.Com Postseason Tournament quarterfinals played Monday night at the Hynes Center in New Rochelle. Jenkins scored 23 points, and the Gaels made 11-of-23 three-point shots to soundly beat the Bulls and advance to the CIT semifinals.
Iona raced out to a 6-0 lead, but Buffalo battled back, tying the score at 8 on a three-pointer by Byron Mulkey at the 17:23 mark of the first half. The Gaels and Bulls were neck-and-neck the remainder of the first half, with neither team pulling ahead by more than five points the remainder of the first half.
Buffalo took a 21-17 lead on a layup by freshman sensation Javon McCrea with 11:46 remaining in the first half. The Gaels reclaimed the lead with a quick 9-0 spurt capped by a Sean Armand three-pointer that staked the home team to a 26-17 lead. Sparked by McCrea, the Bulls went on a run of their own, claiming a 31-27 lead when McCrea scored on a putback. Iona regrouped, outscoring Buffalo 14-5 in the final four and a half minutes of the first half to take a 41-36 halftime lead.
While the Bulls wouldn’t go quietly, it was the Gaels that took command of the game in the second half. Thanks to McCrea’s continued heroics, the Bulls got as close as 46-43 and 48-45 early in the second half. The Gaels responded, however, outscoring the Bulls 19-8 over the next nine minutes to stake out a 67-53 lead on a three-pointer by Scott Machado with 5:06 remaining to play.
The road warriors from Western New York - Buffalo played all three of its CIT games away from Alumni Arena - mounted one last surge, scoring five straight points to trim the deficit to 67-58 before Iona pulled away in the final three minutes of the game. Junior guard Machado was instrumental for the Gaels done the stretch, scoring six points and dishing out an assist to help his team close out the Bulls in style.
Machado stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, nine dimes, and four steals. Freshman guard Sean Armand scored 11 points and senior guard Rashon Dwight chipped in 10 points. Iona improved to 24-11 with the win.
Buffalo was led by McCrea, who scored a game-high 29 points on 13-of-16 shooting from the field. Senior point guard Byron Mulkey was the only other Bull to notch double figures, scoring 12 points in his final collegiate contest. The Bulls finished the season 20-14.
The Gaels will play East Tennessee State, 82-73 winners over Ohio, in a semifinal contest on Saturday.