When Kyle Smith sank a three to extend Iona's lead over Manhattan to 17 with less than eight minutes remaining Thursday night, the Gaels appeared to take their foot off the gas in hopes of coasting to a victory.
Improbably enough, the Jaspers made Iona pay for its complacency.
Manhattan outscored the MAAC favorite by 20 points in the final eight minutes to capture a stunning 75-72 road victory. Freshman forward Emmy Andujar sank the game-winning shot, banking in a long 3-pointer as time expired over the outstretched hands of Scott Machado.
Andujar's shot tightened the MAAC race by dealing Iona (13-4, 5-1) its first conference loss and vaulting Manhattan (11-7, 4-2) into the role of unlikely contender. The Jaspers went 6-25 last season, but former Louisville assistant Steve Masiello has orchestrated an impressive turnaround behind the steady play of junior George Beamon and a youthful supporting cast.
Iona coach Tim Cluess, whose team boasts talented guards Scott Machado and MoMo Jones and high-scoring forward Mike Glover, didn't hesitate to express his disappointment about Thursday's loss.
"This isn't a wakeup call," Cluess told reporters. "This is a disgrace."