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Iona, basketball coach Rick Pitino announce 2nd COVID-19 season pause

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The Iona men's basketball team -- coached by Rick Pitino -- has paused activities for the second time this year due to positive COVID-19 test results.

Iona said on Tuesday that the result emerged from Tier I personnel, described by the NCAA as the "highest exposure tier." The group includes athletes, coaches and team staff.

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"This is our second COVID shutdown," Pitino tweeted Tuesday. "So many people have lost their loved ones. Hoping this nightmare ends in 2021."

The Gaels' game against Towson on Tuesday was canceled. Iona said its two games schedule for this weekend against Niagara have been moved to Jan. 22 and 23.

Towson also announced Tuesday that it had a player test positive for COVID-19. The positive tests from Iona and Towson each emerged from Monday's round of testing.

The Gaels hosted Coppin State on Dec. 23 in New Rochelle, N.Y. Coppin State canceled its game against Rider -- scheduled for Tuesday -- due to contact tracing protocol. No Coppin State or Rider players or staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Iona also paused its season in November after a positive result emerged from a Tier 1 individual. They have had 10 games canceled or postponed this season due to COVID-19.

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The Gaels are scheduled to resume play against Saint Peter's at 6 p.m. EST on Jan. 15.

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