Friday, February 3, 2012

Iona's "Superman" Jones Hits 43 Against Canisius

If you haven't checked the MAAC boxscores yet this morning, this statistic, from Iona's 105-86 victory over Canisius on Thursday night, will jump out at you: The Gaels' junior guard Lamont "Momo" Jones scored 43 points on 16-of-23 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-12 from three-point range.

The output makes him the first Gael to score at least 40 points in a game in 20 years, and broke Steve Burtt's Hynes Center record of 40 set on Feb. 1, 1984, nearly 28 years to the fay. Coincidentally, Burtt and another former Iona standout, Gary Springer, were on the Iona campus Thursday and spoke with Jones prior to the game.

The last Iona player to score as many points was Sean Green, who hit 43 against Siena in the 1991 MAAC championship game. The only higher single-game total by an Iona player is Warren Isaac's school record of 50 that came against Bates on Dec. 18, 1964.

Jones' mark also approached the conference's all-time one-game best, at least in MAAC play. That standard of 46 points is held by Jim McCaffrey of Holy Cross (1984-85 season).

Others with at least 43 points against a MAAC opponent: Charron Fisher of Niagara, 45, 2007-08 season; Luis Flores of Manhattan, 2002-03 season, Alvin Young of Niagara, 1998-99 season, Marc Brown of Siena, 1990-91 season and Kevin Houston of Army, 1986-87 season, all with 44; and, three others with 43: McCaffery in the 1984-85 season, Houston in the 1986-87 season and Keydren Clark of Saint Peter's in the 2005-06 season.

Those totals, though, do not include single-game outbursts in non-conference games, and your Hoopscribe immediately recalls one, the 51 points scored by Siena's Doremus Bennerman against Kansas State in the consolation game of the 1993-94 NIT.

"I felt like Superman," Jones said to Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News, afterwards. "There are no other words to describe that. It's a feeling that's indescribable, especially in the college game. It's very rare that college athletes have 40 in games or 50 in games.

Jones told Brennan that his performance was something of a `Thank You' to his teammates. He said they hounded him all week in practice, telling him they needed more from him to help Iona get on a run to an NCAA Tournament date.

"All week in practice they rode me, every teammate," Jones said. "(They) screamed at me, yelled at me, pushed me around. They told me that if we want to make an NCAA run (I) had to step it up. (They told me) I'm a person that's been there. It was a nag. It's something I can say I never want to go through again. But it was great to see my teammates had a lot of confidence in me. For them to do that, to come to me personally and say `Look man, we want to get there and you have to go do it tonight,' this was my thanks to them."

Jones has indeed been to NCAA Tournament territory that the Gaels aspire to this season. As a starter at Arizona last season he helped that program advance to the Elite Eight of post-season tournament play.

Thursday's victory pushed Iona's overall record to 18-5 and a 10-2 conference record, and enabled it to remain in a tie for the top spot in the MAAC standings heading into Saturday's show-down game with Manhattan, which also has a 10-2 league mark.

No comments: