LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Nelly Joseph and Walter Clayton Jr. made key free throws in the final seconds to lift Iona over No. 10 Alabama 72-68 in an opening-round game at the ESPN Events Invitational on Thursday night.
Clayton got an offensive rebound and made one of two free throws to make it 70-68 with 20 seconds left. After Jahvon Quinerly missed a shot for Alabama, Joseph secured the win with two free throws with 9 seconds remaining,
Tyson Jolly had 13 points, Elijah Joiner 12 and Quinn Slazinski 11 for Iona (6-0)
Alabama (4-1) got 19 points from Jaden Shackelford. Quinerly added 15.
Joiner hit a 3 to put Iona up 69-65, but Shackelford connected from long range to make it a one-point game with 56 seconds to go.
Joseph made two free throws during an 11-3 run to give Iona a 59-57 advantage. Alabama’s Darius Miles responded with a layup, but Jolly made a 3 to put Iona back ahead 62-59 at the 4-minute mark. Shackelford’s 3 put Alabama ahead 54-48.
Iona won despite a 4 ½ minute-stretch early in the second half without a field goal. Alabama was up 33-29 at the half, which matched the biggest lead during the opening 20 minutes.