Men’s basketball falls to Iona 65-53 in season opener


Courtesy of Iona Athletics

Iona’s Elijah Joiner is guarded by App State senior forward James Lewis Jr. in men’s basketball’s season opener. Lewis Jr. put up seven points and nine rebounds against the Gaels.

James Parker, Reporter

App State men’s basketball fell to Iona 65-53 in its season opener in New Rochelle, New York Tuesday.

Senior guard Adrian Delph led the team in the losing effort with 15 points and eight rebounds, while senior forward James Lewis Jr. finished with seven points and a team-high nine rebounds.

Senior guard Adrian Delph contests an Iona three-point attempt. Delph was the only Mountaineer to reach double figures, dropping 15 points and eight rebounds. (Courtesy of Iona Athletics )

After a 9-9 tie early in the first half, an 8-2 run, led by Delph, gave the Mountaineers a 17-11 lead near the midway point of the first half. The Gaels tied the game 25-25 until the Mountaineers took a two-point lead after a jump shot by sophomore guard Micheal Eads Jr. in the half’s final seconds.

App State struggled from deep in the first half, hitting only two out of 10 attempts from three. They also struggled from the free throw line in the first half, shooting 1-for-6 from the charity stripe.

After the Black and Gold took a 35-31 lead early in the second half, both teams exchanged buckets, resulting in a 43-43 tie with 9:28 left to play. The Mountaineers went on to hit just two more field goals throughout the rest of the game. This lack of scoring was due in part to the Iona defense blocking nine Mountaineer shot attempts. 

The Mountaineers shot better from the free throw line during the second half, knocking down seven out of 11 free throw attempts. They struggled to get shots to fall from the field though, shooting 9-for-31 in the second half and 1-for-12 from three. This scoring drought allowed the Gaels to establish a lead by hitting 59% of their second half shot attempts and making five free throws in the final five minutes of the game, winning the matchup with a final score of 65-53.

App State will host East Tennessee State in their home opener Friday at 6:30 p.m.