Thursday, March 31, 2011
Santa Clara Downs Iona and Wins the 2011 CIT Championship
For my son Matthew, it was his second straight Iona game in a row. He had gone to the quarterfinal game at the Hynes Center where Iona downed Buffalo. After a dinner of McDonald's french fries, he was ready to watch some basketball, along with my friends Tony, Mal, Tony Bozzella, and Assistant Iona Women's Coach Lauren Defalco.
Say what you want about the CIT, but both teams really wanted to win that trophy. For Iona, it would be a bit of redemption after losing in the MAAC Championship game to St Peter's, a game they were heavily favored in after sweeping the Peacocks in the regular season. For Santa Clara, a relatively young team with their two best players being junior Marc Trasolini and sophomore Kevin Foster, this was a chance to build on a successful 20 win plus season.
But just when we all thought Iona had the momentum, Santa Clara quickly answered, again using their offensive rebounding to their advantage. On the next possession, the Broncos got THREE offensive rebounds, the last resulting in a Trasolini three pointer (Trasolini had just previously scored a tip in shot after another three offensive rebound possession). Ray Cowels buried a three and then Trasolini scored another putback off a miss by Foster. Before you blinked an eye, Santa Clara was back up eight, 48-40 in not even two minutes.
The Gaels made one last run and it was their bread and butter, Glover leading the way. He scored seven of Iona's sixteen points and the Gaels had it down to six, 73-67 with 1:21 left. But Iona decided not to foul Santa Clara immediately on their next possession until it was too late. Dowdell was fouled as he hit a layup. The three point play gave the Broncos their final points of the game and Iona would only score two more points. Santa Clara won the CIT Championship 76-69.
Foster led five Broncos' players in double figures with 16 points, despite shooting 6 of 20 from the field. Trasolini was the thorn in Iona's side with 12 points and 8 rebounds, 6 on the offensive end. Santa Clara outrebounded Iona 50-33 with 17 rebounds coming from the offensive end. Glover did everything he could leading all scorers with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. But he only had eleven FG attempts, making seven while shooting eight of twelve from the line. What hurt Iona was Machado and Jenkins, their second and fourth leading scorers combining to shoot 5 of 22 including 0 of 7 from beyond the arc. The nation's 19th best team in FG percentage at 47.4% only shot 41.8 % from the field.
The six of us hung out for a little while and eventually Defiantly Dutch caught up with us as well. As we normally do, we ended up talking about the game. A lot of the talk centered around the rebounding differential and how Glover didn't get the ball enough.
For me, it was the 41st and last live college basketball game I would see this season. Yes, there is still the NIT Championship and the Final Four, so certainly the college basketball season is not over. But those four games will be watched on TV. My live college basketball season ended last night.
As it has for the last several years, it ended all too soon.