Just a couple of hours after Wagner was upset in the Northeast Conference semifinals, Iona -- the regular season champs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference -- suffered a stunning defeat to No. 4 seed Fairfield in the MAAC semifinals, 85-75.
Iona had beaten Fairfield twice in the regular season, including clinching the MAAC title with a win over the Stags nine days ago in New Rochelle. And Fairfield was without starting point guard and second-leading scorer Derek Needham, who is out for the rest of the season after breaking a bone in his left foot in that previous Iona game.
Scott Machado, the nation's leader in assists, had 24 points and seven assists for Iona. Mike Glover, another All-MAAC first-teamer, had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Momo Jones chipped in 16 points. But Glover shot just 9-for-18 from the foul line, Iona got little help from its supporting cast, and Fairfield shot 31-for-52 from the field (59.6 percent).
This is the second straight season Iona has suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the MAAC tourney. Last year, as the No. seed, the Gaels were upset by No. 4 seed St. Pete's in the championship game.
Iona coach Tim Cluess said after the game that he thinks his team is deserving of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, with a record of 25-7 and an RPI rating of 39 entering play on Sunday. But the Gaels have just one win against teams in the top 50 in the RPI (Nevada).
The more likely destination is the NIT -- Iona is guaranteed a bid there, as the conference regular season champion.