NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- The athletics department at Iona College held a pep rally to cheer for the men's basketball team Wednesday afternoon before the players head to Dayton, Ohio, for Friday's NCAA tournament game against Ohio State.
The men’s basketball coaching staff and student-athletes joined school administrators, alumni, fans and friends at the event outside the Hynes Athletics Center.
"These guys have done a great job developing from where they were at the beginning of the season, with all their struggle and focus and dedication as nine new guys," head coach Tim Cluess said of his team. "They're true competitors, they have the spirit of a winning team, they care about others, and they do all they can for each other -- that's what the team is about."
The Gaels took in the excitement before boarding the bus to Ohio.
"I feel like we're supposed to be here, I feel like belong, so I'm just ready to handle business," said Lamont 'Momo' Jones, the team's star guard. "Most definitely I feel the happiness and support on campus. I think people would come with us if they could."
Shooting guard Sean Armand said, "This is for the school and for New Rochelle as a city. I'm trying to make everybody proud, and my team has my back, so we'll just go from there."
With Ohio State, a Big 10 powerhouse, seeded No. 2, many are calling Friday's game "a tall order."
About "16,000 or 18,000 people are going to be there, all wearing their red and white and screaming against us, but what a great opportunity," Cluess said.