ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Steve Burtt scored 25 points to lead Iona to
an 80-54 win over Niagara in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Kiril Wachsmann scored 20 and had 13 rebounds for the Gaels
(21-7). Besides ending the Purple Eagles' chances of defending
their conference title, Iona also knocked off the team that had
eliminated it in the last four tournaments.
The Gaels advance to the semifinals Sunday for the second
straight year -- and the 15th time in the tournament's 25-year
history -- to face Marist, which beat Canisius 68-62 in the final
game of the day.
Clif Brown scored 17 and had eight rebounds for Niagara (11-18),
an undermanned team which ended the game with no reserves after
James Mathis and J.R. Duffey fouled out in the final five minutes.
The Purple Eagles were thin on players all season after
red-shirting two freshmen, losing another two freshmen to transfer
and losing sophomore forward Charron Fisher with a knee injury in
Iona, rested from a first-round bye, scored the game's first 11
points and never trailed. Niagara eventually trailed 39-25 after
hitting just eight of 30 attempts in the first half.
The Purple Eagles' 11 victories mark their fewest during coach
Joe Mihalich's eight-year tenure and come a season after the
program won the title to secure its second NCAA tournament berth
and first in 35 years.
The 26-point margin of defeat matched Niagara's largest in
tournament play, when it lost 83-57 to Siena in the 1992