Santa Clara 76, Iona 69
When you play in the West Coast Conference, you’re going to walk
into some imposing gyms from time to time. But playing the likes of
Gonzaga and St. Mary’s probably didn’t prepare Santa Clara for a
practice this week at Madison Square Garden of all places.
Running through a workout on the same floor where Carmelo
Anthony plays for the Knicks, and where Kemba Walker led UConn to a
Big East championship, however, did prove to have dividends.
Just ask Iona.
Two days after that Garden practice, Ben Dowdell had 14 points,
eight rebounds and two assists as Santa Clara handled the Gaels
76-69 to win the third annual CollegeInsider.com tournament on
Kevin Foster had 16 points and the Broncos (24-14) placed five
in double figures en route to the easy road victory over Iona
(25-12). Santa Clara led 38-28 at the half, and outrebounded Iona
The loss ruined a thorough performance from Iona’s Michael
Glover, who finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and
The CIT this year featured a 24-team field from 15 different
conferences, including the West Coast, the MAAC, Conference USA,
the Missouri Valley and the Mountain West. The majority of the
teams – understanding they probably weren’t going to get invited
elsewhere – signed onto the tournament prior to Selection Sunday.
Old Dominion and Missouri State won the first two installments of
Santa Clara defeated Northern Arizona, Air Force, San Francisco,
SMU and Iona to win the title, the last three being on the road.
The Broncos closed the season by winning eight of their last nine
games, and while they’d probably give back this title for a chance
to play in the NCAA tournament, they won’t forget this run anytime
Neither will their fellow students. In fact, Santa Clara will
host a welcome back salute to the team on Thursday afternoon on
campus. This is Santa Clara’s first-ever postseason, non-conference
Iona finished the season on a 12-2 stretch, but the two losses –
both in championship settings – were costly and may overshadow an
otherwise strong season. Iona lost to St. Peter’s 62-57 in the MAAC
title game, and then to the Broncos. Iona defeated Valparaiso,
Buffalo and East Tennessee State to advance to the CIT final.