NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Iona overcame a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes to defeat Loyola, 70-65, in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game last night.
Mark Sparzak's layup with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left gave the Greyhounds a 63-54 lead, tying their largest lead of the game. From that point, Iona outscored Loyola, 16-2.
Loyola's Kevin Green led all scorers with 24 points and seven rebounds. Michael Reese added 16 points, seven rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots for the Greyhounds.
Center Harry Hart (18 points, nine rebounds) hit two free throws and Bashkin Mustafaj made a driving layup to bring Iona within five with 4:30 remaining.
Hart hit a short jumper, then Corey Taylor hit two free throws with 2:54 left to cut the Loyola lead to one. Iona took its first lead of the second half when Derrick Canada hit two free throws at the 2:43 mark, but Loyola's Tracy Bergan countered with a 15-foot jumper to give the Greyhounds a 65-64 lead with 2:25 left.
Antoine Lewis drove the lane and hit a layup to give the Gaels the lead for good at 66-65 with 1:21 remaining.
Danny Golembiewski hit the second of two free throws to make it 67-65 with 38 seconds left. Hart and Taylor combined to hit three of four free throws in the final 18 seconds to clinch the victory.
Loyola converted four more field goals than Iona, including four more three-pointers. But the Gaels made 26 of 37 free throws to Loyola's nine of 12. The Greyhounds did not shoot a free throw during the second half.