Monmouth vs. Iona has been a strong under-the-radar rivalry for the last year in the MAAC. Last season, Monmouth coach King Rice and Iona coach Tim Cluess exchanged words in the conference tournament in the middle of the game after a hard foul. Before their tilt Friday, Cluess called out Monmouth’s energetic bench, saying that he “didn’t know if they were on the team or wearing uniforms as cheerleaders.”
So, yeah, we shouldn’t be surprised that a postgame kerfuffle broke out after Monmouth’s 110-102 win over the Gaels on Friday, snapping Iona’s 26-game home win streak.
After the buzzer sounded, the two teams got together to shake hands. But that’s not all that happened.
Iona will be without Jordan Washington for at least a game or two because of this. Dumb: pic.twitter.com/qlZGLIGKQO
— Ray Curren (@currenrr) January 16, 2016
There’s obviously a lot going on there, but the key moment is obviously Iona’s Jordan Washington slapping Monmouth forward Chris Brady in the face. It was also reported that Iona forward Aaron Rountree had to be held back by multiple players to stop him from going after a Monmouth player.
Rice even got in on the action, apparently leaving a quick message for the crowd following the fracas.
Monmouth coach King Rice with some parting thoughts for the Iona crowd. pic.twitter.com/X1U6Gmtcjo
— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) January 16, 2016
There are obviously going to be multiple suspensions in this scenario, and to be honest that’s something of a shame. It overshadowed what was a terrific, up-tempo, high-level basketball game between two teams vying for an NCAA Tournament berth. Iona’s A.J. English dropped an insane 45 points on 26 shots. Monmouth dropped just a totally absurd 1.47 points per possession in the second half to run away after Iona led by one at the half.
These are two really strong mid-major basketball teams that will continue to play for the right to be a bracket buster by the time March Madness rolls around. And the best part is that we’re guaranteed to get at least one more highly intense game between these two teams on Feb. 19 when Iona travels to Monmouth.
Hopefully the two teams will let their play stand for itself in that one.