Springfield, MA – Tre Bowman scored 20 points off the bench and Iona earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance with a 60-57 win over Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament final.
The Gaels (20-13) were the fourth seed and had a first-round bye in the tourney. They defeated Canisius, 89-85, on Saturday and upset top-seeded Niagara 79-73 on Sunday to reach the title game.
Bowman shot 7-of-9 from the field for the Gaels. Lamont Jones scored 14 points and David Laury had 10 points and six rebounds in the victory.
"This year, it's a lot more meaningful," Jones said of his team's second straight NCAA Tournament bid. "If you told me nine months ago that this was going to be the case, I probably wouldn't have believed it."
Michael Alvarado scored 14 points for the Jaspers (14-18), who have not made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004. No other player on the roster scored in double digits.
Manhattan, which earned the sixth seed and a first-round bye in the tourney, got past third-seed Loyola-Maryland, 55-52, on Saturday and seventh-seed Fairfield, 60-42, on Sunday.
"We're going to look back on this day and cherish it," Manhattan coach Steve Masiello said. "And this will be the fuel to Manhattan's future."
The Jaspers led at halftime, 26-24, but the Gaels seized control in the second half.
Down 35-30 with 14 1/2 minutes left in regulation, Iona went on a 17-2 run to take a 47-37 lead with 8:41 to play.
Manhattan tried to come back and cut the deficit to 56-52 with 1:24 left, but the Jaspers lacked rebounding opportunities when they needed it most.
Bowman made a pair of free throws with 28 seconds to go and Laury dunked with six seconds remaining to put the game out of reach.
The Jaspers' Shane Richards made a 3-pointer with one second left and the Iona bench committed a technical foul to allow Donovan Kates to sink a pair of free throws, but that was it.
Iona will be making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance ... The Gaels have 20 wins for the fourth straight season ... Iona and Manhattan split in the regular-season. Manhattan won the first matchup, 78-70, on Jan. 6 while Iona won the second meeting, 74-73, in double overtime on Feb. 15 ... It was the 82nd matchup between the two teams, but they had never met in the title game.