SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – When a team beats a neighborhood rival for a championship, you might expect a lot of bragging rights-type of talk from the winning team. You might expect them to not have high words for the opponent in between basking in the glow of the championship. That all gets magnified by it being a championship game, with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, as well as a rematch of the title game from a year earlier.
And yet there was nothing but respect for Iona coming from Manhattan, located less than ten miles away, after the Jaspers’ 71-68 win in the MAAC Championship game. It speaks to the character of the young men in the program and why they went from going 6-25 and a tie for the bottom of the MAAC to being champions in three years.