Manhattan Jaspers beat Iona Gaels in MAAC championship for NCAA tournament spot
THE BRONX - Manhattan College beat their archrival Iona College 71-68 Monday night to clinch the MAAC title and a berth into the NCAA tournament.
The Jaspers lost to Iona in last year's MAAC final. They advance to their first Big Dance since 2004.
Manhattan led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but had to hold off a late charge by the Gaels.
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Iona, the tournament's top seed, was looking for its third straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
The New York rivals, whose campuses are less than 10 miles apart, were playing for the 85th time. They split their games in the regular season.
The two losses to Manhattan are the only two the Gaels have had in their last 16 games.
Iona is not expected to get an at-large bid this season. That's happened only twice in the league's history, including Iona's bid two years ago.
AP Wire Services were used in this report