Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Iona needed a win over Fairfield Friday night in order to capture their first regular-season MAAC title since 2001.
Thanks to Sean Armand, they got it.
Armand scored all 17 of his points in the second half to lead the Gaels to a 77-72 victory at the Hynes Center.
Iona, which lost in the conference tournament final to St. Peter’s last year, earned the top seed in next weekend’s MAAC Tournament in Springfield, Mass.
Armand, a sophomore guard, got 15 points in the final 7:50, starting with a 3-pointer that gave Iona a 59-58 lead. He scored the next 12 points for the Gaels (23-6, 14-3) as they went ahead 71-65 with 2:44 remaining.
“Sean’s a lights-out shooter,” Iona point guard Scott Machado, who had 10 points and seven assists, told the Daily News. “He does that day in and day out. I wish I could shoot like him. He’s an unbelievable shooter, one of the best in college basketball by far.”
The Stags (17-12, 12-5) led 42-34 early in the second half, but Machado scored six points in a span of 1:32 to rally Iona to a 42-42 tie with 15:30 to play.
Mike Glover finished with 13 points for Iona.
Rakim Sanders had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead Fairfield, which had won its last seven conference games.
“Everybody stepped up,” Machado said. “This was a real nitty-gritty win for us and we needed it.”
(The AP contributed; Photo: Daily News)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.