Tempers flare after Iona, Monmouth game

— -- There hasn't been much love lost between the Iona and Monmouth men's basketball teams in the last year.

It didn't get much better Friday night.

Tempers flared on both sides following Monmouth's 110-102 victory in New Rochelle, New York, as Gaels and Hawks players tussled while going through the postgame handshake line.

It wasn't immediately clear who sparked the altercation, which included at least one slap to the face of a Monmouth player by someone on the Hawks. Coaches and security attempted to calm the situation before the teams finally exited Hynes Center Court.

Monmouth has drawn headlines this season for its eccentric bench celebrations, but not everyone has been a fan. In the lead-up to Friday night's game, Iona coach Tim Cluess was a harsh critic of the bench mob, critiquing its over-the-top actions.

"Are they on the team?" he reportedly said earlier in the week. "I didn't know if they were on the team or wearing uniforms as cheerleaders. I've never seen them on the court doing anything, so to me, they're not basketball players."

There was bad blood between the teams before this week, too. During the MAAC tournament last season, Cluess and Monmouth coach King Rice exchanged words during the game and didn't back down after it.

Iona entered Friday night's clash unbeaten in the conference and a winner of 26 straight at home, but Monmouth stopped those streaks behind 29 points from Justin Robinson. The Hawks' 110 points were their most since 1994.

A.J. English scored 45 points for Iona.