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Berrick JeanLouis blocked a potential game-tying layup and Nelly Junior Joseph made two clinching two free throws to lift Iona to a 72-68 victory over No. 10 Alabama in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational on Thursday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Iona (6-0) will face Belmont in the semifinals on Friday.

The Crimson Tide (4-1) will oppose Drake in the consolation round.

Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. each scored 15 points for the Gaels, who rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit and avenged a loss to Alabama in the first round of NCAA Tournament last season.

After Clayton made one of two foul shots with 20 seconds remaining for a 70-68 lead, Alabama's Jahvon Quinerly drove the lane for a potential tying layup, but his shot was blocked by JeanLouis. Joseph got the rebound.

Jaden Shackelford scored 19 points and Quinerly added 15 for the Crimson Tide.

Tyson Jolly scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half for Iona, including two clutch baskets late.

Elijah Joiner's 3-pointer with 1:16 to go put Iona ahead 69-65, but the Crimson Tide answered with a trey by Shackelford.

Early in the second half, a missed 3-point attempt by Clayton led to a long rebound and an Alabama fast break. JD Davison passed to an open Shackelford on the left side, and he drained a 3-pointer for a 46-37 lead with 12:52 left.

But Iona was not finished. With the help of a technical foul assessed on Alabama coach Nate Oats, the Gaels put together a 10-1 run capped by Clayton's runner down the right side of the lane to tie the score at 47.

The Crimson Tide again surged ahead, taking a 56-50 lead on Juwan Gary's putback. But once again, the Gaels responded. A 7-1 run capped by Joseph's basket tied the score at 57.

--Field Level Media

This article originally ran on Content Exchange

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