Saturday, January 21, 2012
It's Late Night With Scott Machado (Recap of Rider vs. Iona)
So as a result, two east coast teams were playing at a time that's normally reserved for West Coast Conference games (based on Eastern Standard time). Most sane, normal people would have decided to stay home and watch the game on television. But basketball fans like you and me are not most sane, normal people. We like to see good live college basketball at any time.
When I first got home last night, I prepared for the late start...by taking a nap. Yes, when you're nearly forty six years old and you get up at 6:00 AM to walk your dog to start your day, to stay up late, a brief nap is a requirement. When I woke up from my nap, it was that exhausted feeling that you get when you didn't get the proper sleep time. I worked that off with an evening walk with my dog.
Then it was off to New Rochelle. Well, not exactly. When I got on the Southern State Parkway, I realized I better check to see if I have my EZ-Pass. No, it was in my wife's Honda CRV. So I went back home, got the EZ-Pass from the other car and headed back out. I made excellent time to the campus of Iona and was there about forty five minutes early.
But as it got closer to tipoff, the crowd filled in nicely, especially the students' section. Oh, to be twenty one again. Apparently the students loved the idea of a10:00 P.M. start. It certainly wasn't too late of a start for them based on their attendance. Chances are this was only the beginning to their night. The entire general admission/student section would be packed by game time, so much so that the gym entrance ushers started sending students over to our side of the gym. It made for a very lively atmosphere
I sat with Guy Falotico, otherwise known on Twitter as @IonaGuyF. Guy is an Iona alum and is the moderator for IonaHoops.Com. He is also a fellow member of John Templon's Big Apple Buckets New York City Power Poll and he knows his basketball. Guy would also provide the funniest moment of the night at the end of the game.
Neither Rider or Iona were phased by the late start as both teams put on a show in the beginning of the game. In the first three and half minutes, each team scored eight points. Novar Gadson buried two three pointers. Unfortunately for the Broncs, Gadson would only score four more points the rest of the night.
The Broncs responded and came back to tie the game at sixteen with eleven minutes left. The Broncs were scoring most of their points on drives to the baskets. It looked like Rider was equal to the task of staying with the fourth highest scoring team in the country.
But every good late show not only has a good host, but also superstar special guests. And in Iona's case, they would be Sean Armand, Momo Jones and Michael Glover. Armand came off the bench to perform his specialty; hitting three pointers. Armand would hit four shots from beyond the arc over the span of five minutes to put the Gaels out in front 32-23 with five and half minutes left in the half.
The end of the first half came as a result of good coaching. After Eddie Mitchell on Rider hit two free throws with three seconds left, Machado dribbled the ball to half court. Iona Head Coach Tim Cluess called timeout with 2.2 seconds left in the half. Off the timeout, Machado found Sean Armand who buried his fifth three pointer of the first half. The Gaels entered the locker room up 46-32.
As the second half started, it appeared that Rider left their perimeter defense back in the locker room. Momo Jones immediately hit two shots from beyond the arc. Then after Jones hit another layup, Machado buried a three pointer. Not even four minutes into the second half, Iona had gone up by twenty, 60-40.
Things would actually get worse for Rider, as Iona would actually extend the lead. A three point barrage by Jermel Jenkins and Kyle Smyth put the Gaels up 85-56 with over seven minutes remaining. The game had been no longer in doubt for several minutes and the fans knew this. Several of them actually started leaving. Guess it was either past their bedtime or they were going on to the next activity for the evening. They had seen enough of a successful Iona show.
With fifty one seconds left, Machado grabbed his ninth rebound. Now the triple double watch was on. With twenty six seconds left, Glover was at the line shooting a one and one. Machado was at the line on the left hand side of Glover, ready to get the rebound. But Cluess decided to replace Machado. You could tell on Machado's face he knew about the triple double. He wanted to stay in and get that tenth rebound.
Sure enough, Glover missed the free throw and the ball bounded to the left side, right where Machado would have been. Machado gave an "Aww, man!" look on the bench as the chance for the triple double went away. Still, eleven points, fifteen assists and nine rebounds was quite an impressive night for Machado, whose reward was to do the post game interview with ESPNU.
After I said goodbye to Guy, I headed out back to the parking garage. Due to many people leaving early, it was actually relatively easy to get out of the Iona lot, which normally is not the case for a men's game. As I made my way driving back down the Hutchinson River Parkway at 12:30 A.M. in the morning, I had one thought.
Is it too early to stop at a diner for breakfast?