Pitino back in the NCAA Tournament with MAAC champs Iona
Asante Gist scored 18 points and Pitino took his record-tying fifth school to the NCAA Tournament with Iona’s 60-51 victory over Fairfield on Saturday in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament championship. Next stop, the all-Indiana NCAA Tournament. Gist’s absence was short-lived and he hit a 3 in his return to send the Gaels on their way to their fifth straight NCAA Tournament. Iona had completed a good run under Tim Cluess, who made six NCAA Tournament appearances and won five MAAC Tournament titles in nine seasons before stepping down for health reasons, when it hired Pitino. BIG PICTUREIona: Pitino joined Lon Kruger and Tubby Smith as the only coaches to take five programs to the NCAA Tournament.