JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Mike Glover scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Iona beat East Tennessee State 83-80 Saturday in the CollegeInsider.com tournament semifinals.
Iona (25-11) will host Santa Clara in the championship on Wednesday night.Glover turned in his double-double despite hurting his back early in the game. He still managed to play 34 minutes."He put our whole team on his back today," Iona coach Tim Cluess said. "I'm really proud of him. It's his competitive nature. He wants to go out there and show people how good he is so when they leave there, they're talking about Mike Glover."The Bucs (24-12) would have hosted the championship with a victory. Senior Mike Smith called Glover a monster who played well."We tried to double him, and he continued to score," Smith said.ETSU led 55-52 when Sean Armand's 3 tied it up for Iona. Glover's layup put Iona ahead before Smith's jumper tied it again with 10:12 left. The Gaels scored the next 10 points, capped by Scott Machado's 3 for a 69-59 lead with 8:09 left.The Bucs made a late run and pulled within 81-80 on a layup by Micah Williams with 11 seconds remaining. But Trinity Fields iced the victory with two free throws with 3 seconds left."East Tennessee has a great team, very very tough," Cluess said. "It went back and forth. Neither team quit until the final buzzer."It's the first time this season that the Gaels have won after trailing at halftime, losing all seven previous games. The Gaels rallied for the victory by shooting 65.4 percent (17-of-26) in the second half, and ETSU coach Murry Bartow was impressed, especially after Iona scored the first 14 points of the game.His Bucs lost for the first time this season while scoring 70 or more."I'm really proud of our guys and the effort they showed against a very good Iona team," Bartow said. "Iona, along with Belmont out of our league, is one of the two best teams to come in here this season. They are really good offensively."Armand finished with 20 points for Iona.The Bucs led 41-35 at halftime despite their slow start. Williams led ETSU with 23 points, Adam Sollazzo had 21, Smith 18 and Justin Tubbs 13.