For the second time in his college career, Tre Bowman will get to experience March Madness.
This time, however, the Central York High School graduate will be an integral part of a team that is headed to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
Bowman poured in 20 points off the bench on Monday night to power Iona to a 60-57 victory over rival Manhattan in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship game in Springfield, Mass. Bowman is a 6-foot, 5-inch junior guard for the Gaels.
After leaving Central York, Bowman played for St. Thomas More, a prep school in Connecticut, before accepting a scholarship offer from Penn State. He was a freshman member of the 2010-2011 PSU team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament, although he saw only limited action.
He later left Penn State and spent a year at Midland Junior College in Texas in 2011-2012, before joining Iona this season.
With the Gaels, he has played in 31 games, including 16 starts. He's averaging 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
In Monday's title-clinching victory over Manhattan, Bowman was on fire, finishing 7-for-9 from the field, 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the foul line. He also had five rebounds and three steals.
Lamont Jones added 14 points and earned tournament MVP honors for the fourth-seeded Gaels (20-13), who will be making their second consecutive trip to the NCAAs after receiving an at-large bid last year. Iona is hoping for some redemption after the Gaels wasted a 25-point lead in a first-round loss to BYU in last year's NCAAs.
"This year, it's a lot more meaningful," said Jones. "If you told me nine months ago that this was going to be the case, I probably wouldn't have believed it."
Michael Alvarado had 14 points for Manhattan (14-18). The Jaspers led for much of the game and were up by five in the second half before the Gaels went on a 17-2 run to take charge.
This is the Gaels' eighth MAAC title but first since 2006. The victory also gives Iona 20 wins for the fourth consecutive season. The New York rivals, whose campuses are separated by less than 10 miles, were meeting for the 82nd time but had never met in the championship game. They split two meetings during the regular season, including a double-overtime thriller won by Manhattan at home on Feb. 14.
Iona knocked off fifth-seeded Canisius and No. 1 seed Niagara on its way to the final. No. 6 seed Manhattan upset third-seeded Loyola before beating seventh-seeded Fairfield.
"They made a memory of a lifetime for myself, and hopefully one in their lifetime for them," said Iona coach Tim Cluess.