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FINAL Iona (2-0), 81 vs. Portland State (1-3), 75

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, November 25th, 6:30 p.m. (et).

FACTS & STATS: Site: James J. Hilton Coliseum (14,092) -- Ames, Iowa. Television: None. Home Record: Iona 0-0, Portland St. 0-0. Away Record: Iona 0-0, Portland St. 1-2. Neutral Record: Iona 1-0, Portland St. 0-0. Conference Record: Iona 0-0, Portland St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Cyclone Challenge continues tonight with a matchup between the Iona Gaels and the Portland State Vikings. Portland State opened this event against the host team, Iowa State, and Wednesday's game resulted in a 72-64 defeat. The Vikings are now 1-2 on the young season, as they were crushed by Arkansas in the opener before knocking off Bethune-Cookman. Portland State won the Big Sky regular season title a year ago, but many key contributors from that squad are gone. As for Iona, it opened play on Wednesday against Howard on the first day of this event, and the result of that tilt was an 80-68 triumph. A year after finishing 9-9 in MAAC play and 15-16 overall, the Gaels are expected to contend for the league title. Early non-conference games against the likes of Iowa State, Kentucky, Seton Hall and Fresno State will likely help the team immensely. This game marks the first-ever meeting between Iona and Portland State on the hardwood.

Iona's senior duo of Steve Burtt and Kiril Wachsmann took over the game against Howard, as Burtt recorded a game-high 25 points in the win, while Wachsmann posted his third career double-double with a career-high 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Gaels fell behind by seven points early in the contest but certainly found their groove en route to an 80-point night. They shot 52.7 percent from the floor in the contest, including a 68.2 percent showing over the final 20 minutes. Iona earned a commanding 40-23 rebounding advantage in the tilt and posted a 15-8 edge in points from the foul line as well. Those positives enabled the Gaels to overcome a high total of 24 turnovers.

Juma Kamara scored 19 points and Jake Schroeder added 11 in defeat for Portland State on Wednesday against Iowa State. PSU shot a poor 28.1 percent from the floor in the first half, including 1-of-12 from three-point range, but the club still trailed by only two points at intermission. The game remained close throughout the second half, but the Cyclones never relinquished the lead. The Vikings put forth an outstanding 21-of-26 effort from the free throw line, but they finished with only 10 assists and 19 turnovers. Heading into Wednesday's contest, Jake Schroeder had scored 40 points through two outings to lead the club in scoring. Kamara scored a total of only 18 points in the first two games, so his big performance against Iowa State was a bit unexpected.

Give the edge to Iona tonight, as it has plenty of experience in the lineup. The same can't be said for Portland State, which may struggle this season to find its identity.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 74, Portland State 65
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