Iona gave UConn’s greatest shot, however UConn’s greatest shot was even higher.
Iona, the thirteenth seed within the Western Area led by Corridor of Fame coach Rick Pitino, was upset when main 39-37 within the locker room at halftime within the first spherical of the NCAA Match Friday in Albany.
However the second half was a totally completely different story.
UConn, the No. 4 seed, stormed out of the gates with a 17-4 lead within the first 5 minutes of the second half, turning that first-half deficit right into a double-digit benefit. This surge allowed UConn to drag away in a convincing 87-63 victory. All in all, UConn outgained Iona within the second half by a margin of 50-24.
It was 20 minutes of basketball by a workforce that appears prefer it might run championship-deep.
This large second-half effort got here from UConn after Iona’s guards largely dominated play within the first half. As the sport progressed, UConn’s expertise and depth dominated.
Iona had no approach of stopping Adama Sanogo, Ukon’s bruising huge man. Sanogo scored a double-double, main all scorers with 28 factors on 13-of-17 taking pictures to spend 13 rebounds. Of the 28 factors he scored, 22 of them got here within the second half. And when Sanogo was off the sphere, Donovan Clingan was additionally in a position to produce with a excessive clip. Clingan, the 7-foot-2 freshman, put up 10 factors and 9 rebounds in simply 18 minutes off the bench.
The Huskies’ guards didn’t fare greatest taking pictures, however Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson Jr. mixed for 23 factors whereas making 5 three-pointers. Nahim Allen and Joey Calcatera additionally hit huge photographs off the bench, amassing 14 factors on 4-of-6 from outdoors the arc.
With the win, the Huskies will advance to face No. 5-ranked Saint Mary’s on Sunday within the Spherical of 32.
What’s subsequent for Iona coach Rick Pitino?
Pitino is 70 years previous and has spent three seasons at Iona after firing roaringly at Louisville and coaching overseas. With Friday’s loss, Pitino has a 64-22 document with two NCAA Match appearances in three seasons at Iona. However now, it seems like he’s going to maneuver on to a different job.
The identify Pitino appeared regularly in reference to the opening at St. John’s. Pitino is a local New Yorker and can be capable of commute from New Rochelle (the place Iona is positioned) to Queens if he lands in St. John’s. St. John’s fired Mike Anderson final week after 4 seasons, a transfer that opened the door for Pitino to return to the Large East after many years outdoors the league.
After Friday’s sport, Pitino stated he wasn’t certain if he coached his final sport in Iona.
“I don’t have a solution to be sincere. I do not know. I’ve centered every thing on this sport attempting to develop a plan to beat Connecticut,” Pitino stated. “I actually do not know what the longer term would possibly maintain.”
Pitino made lengthy stops at Kentucky and Louisville and in addition coached the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, however hasn’t been a head coach within the Large East since he was at Windfall in 1986 and 1987.
Throughout his post-game media look, Pitino talked about St. John’s identify and indicated that he didn’t go to the college’s campus Since 1987 when he coached Windfall.
“I actually didn’t give it some thought in any respect. I feel once you begin excited about the longer term, you all the time fail, and we put a lot effort into this sport. I don’t know if it’s proper for me, one other job. I don’t know. I do know you’re insinuating.” To St. John’s, however I’ve by no means seen St. John’s. I don’t keep in mind a lot about it to let you know the reality. You don’t purchase homes with out wanting on the storage and the attic and the kitchen. You don’t simply purchase a home, proper?” Pitino stated.