Jon Severe broke a 73-73 tie with a layup with half a second to go to give the Iona Gaels to a 75-73 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack to take the title at the Great Alaska Shootout. The reigning MAAC titlists avenged a 91-76 loss to Nevada to seal their first tournament win in Anchorage.
Gaels strength on display
Tim Cluess' team is known for their offense and they showed it off in the championship game, shooting 50% from the floor while playing surprisingly strong defense, limiting Nevada to just 35% from the floor.
Sam Cassell Jr. paced the Gaels, leading the way with 20 points, while Jordan Washington chipped in with 15 points.
Nevada hangs in the game due to Iona turnovers
Despite Iona's excellent shooting, Nevada was able to keep the game close as the New Rochelle outfit committed 13 turnovers compared to just 8 for the Wolf Pack. Marcus Marshall topped the scoring charts with 21 points apiece for the squad from Reno while D.J. Fenner contributed 18 off of the bench. Cameron Oliver, a key man for Eric Musselman's squad, picked up two first half fouls and was limited to four points.
Iona takes charge midway through the first half
After a back-and-forth start to the game, Rickey McGill triple gave Iona a 16-15 lead at the 11:27 mark of the first half, starting a 13-0 run, capped by a Jordan Washington layup. The Gaels held a 35-30 halftime lead.
Iona withstands Nevada surge to take the title in Anchorage
The lead was immediately extended to start the second half as Sam Cassell Jr. nailed Iona's sixth trey of the contest. Nevada slowly chipped away and they finally reclaimed the lead, their first since the 11:46 mark of the first half, on a Marcus Marshall jumper to give the Wolf Pack a 50-48 lead.
After the game swung back and forth, Iona appeared to have the game under control, taking a 73-67 lead before Marshall and Fenner hit consecutive threes to level the score at 73, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.
Severe hits only two point field goal to clinch championship
Following a timeout by Iona, Cluess drew up a play, isolating Severe to take the last shot and the Fordham transfer calmly drove the left side of the lane and laid the ball in after it bounced off the rim a couple of times.
Nevada's last-second inbounds was knocked away and Iona was the champions. Severe, who only hit two field goals prior to his game-winner, welcomed the opportunity to win the game: "I wanted to get the last shot, Severe said. "I've seen a lot of basketball and in one second you can do a lot. I just wanted to get the last shot".