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Rapid Reaction: Iona 84, Canisius 66

Former University at Buffalo recruit Deyshonee Much scored a career-high 30 points Friday night to lead Iona College to an 84-66 rout of Canisius College.

The loss was the fourth straight for Canisius, which fell to 10-14 overall and 5-8 in the MAAC. It also was the Griffs’ fourth straight defeat at home, the longest Griffs home skid since 2012.

Iona improved to 13-9 overall and 10-3, second best in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Much, a 6-foot-5 wing from Rochester, left the UB team just before last season began. He had seen minimal action in his freshman season, 2013-14. He averaged 6 minutes and 1.2 points for the Bulls. He sat out last year and has made an immediate impact for the Gaels this season. He’s Iona’s third-leading scorer, at 13.5 ppg.

High fliers: Iona leads the MAAC in scoring offense, averaging 81.6 points per game. The Gaels led the MAAC in scoring each of the past five seasons. Iona also ranks first in the conference in three-pointers, field-goal percentage and assists.

The Gaels entered the game averaging 10.2 three-pointers per game, 11th most in the nation. They made 11 against the Griffs.

Top Griffs: Canisius got 18 points from both senior guard Malcolm McMillan and sophomore forward Jermaine Crumpton. Junior forward Phil Valenti added 13.

Big gun: Iona got 10 points and a career-high 14 assists from senior guard A.J. English, the preseason player of the year in the MAAC. English entered the game averaging 22.3 points a game, tops in the MAAC.

Turning point: Iona took control midway through the first half when Canisius went five minutes and seven possessions without scoring. Iona went on an 11-0 run to take a 32-23 lead. Much hit three pointers from 27, 22 and 26 feet in the run. The last three gave him six in the first 15 minutes of the game. His single-game high for his career was five three-pointers. Overall, Iona outscored Canisius, 22-4, over the final nine minutes of the half. Iona led, 43-27, at intermission.

Fast paced: Iona has been one of the most up-tempo teams in the nation in six seasons under coach Tim Cluess. The Gaels have ranked among the top 50 in possessions per 40 minutes each of the past six years. They’re 29th this season. Canisius plays at the fifth-fastest pace in the MAAC, 152nd in the country.

Filling it up: English holds two of the top four scoring efforts in the NCAA this season. He scored 46 on Fairfield in December, which is tied for the highest point total with Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Eastern Michigan’s Raven Lee. English also had 45 on Monmouth in January.

Douse rises: Junior guard Kiefer Douse moved into the starting lineup for the first time this season last week and made his third straight start for the Griffs. Douse, a 6-3 Ontario native who came to Buffalo from a Texas junior college, replaced 6-4 senior Jamal Reynolds on the starting unit.

Key injury: Iona lost sophomore point guard Schadrac Casimir after just four games to a season-ending hip injury. Casimir was MAAC freshman of the year last season. The loss hasn’t slowed down the Gaels’ attack.

Iona coaches: Cluess already stands third on the career coaching win list at 130-63. Jeff Ruland is second with 139 wins in nine seasons.

Home stretch: Canisius played eight of 12 games on the road in January. It plays five of eight in February at home.

Series: Iona leads the series 37-30. Canisius split with Iona last year. Six of the previous seven meetings were decided by four points or fewer.

In the house: Attendance was about 1,700 at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Up next: Canisius plays host to Rider at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Iona visits Niagara at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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