Quinnipiac Men’s Basketball to Face Iona in MAAC Tournament Opener


Photo: Liz Flynn

Ross Meglin

Quinnipiac will begin the 2021 MAAC Tournament as the No. 8 seed against the No. 9 seed Iona Gaels on Tuesday night at 5 pm in Atlantic City.

With constant postponements and cancelations due to COVID-19 this season, the Gaels and the Bobcats are two teams that have dealt with long-term pauses this year.

Quinnipiac was paused early in their season for nearly a month, while Iona was one of just four Division I programs to be paused for over 40 days, as the team did not play from Dec. 24 to Feb. 12.

The one game played between these two programs this season was a thrilling one, Quinnipiac pulled out a close win, 74-70.

The Bobcats’ Tyrese Williams went off for 21 points, hitting 10-of-11 from the free-throw line. Isaiah Ross, per usual, led the way for Iona scoring 18 points.

The two programs match-up evenly after just one meeting. Quinnipiac’s defense, which ranks among the best in the country in opponent’s field goal percentage, uncharacteristically allowed 45 second-half points. The offense kept them in it after leading at halftime by nine.

The second meeting will be Tuesday night in Atlantic City. You can bet head coaches Rick Pitino (Iona) and Baker Dunleavy (Quinnipiac) will adjust the game plans and we could strategically see two very different teams in this matchup.

Since the last meeting on Feb. 17, Iona has only played two games, Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 against St. Peter’s in which the Gaels swept the two-game series. Shortly after the second game, Iona was paused again due to COVID-19 protocols.

Quinnipiac has played six games since seeing Iona, having gone 3-3 in them. The Bobcats also finished their regular season schedule against St. Peter’s with a split, winning 65-60 and then losing the following night, 66-64.

The winner of this match-up on Tuesday night will face off against the No. 1 seed Siena just 24 hours later. Neither Quinnipiac nor Iona has faced Siena this season, setting up an unprecedented first meeting in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament.