Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
ORLANDO, Fla. — In the consolation final of the ESPN Events Invitational, Kansas bounced back with a 96-83 win against Iona at HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. A matchup that featured a combined 1,521 wins between hall of fame head coaches Bill Self and Rick Pitino, who had never coached against each other, finished with Self’s squad having the edge.
Kansas had five players score in double figures on Sunday afternoon. Junior Christian Braun led the way for KU, finishing with a season-high 18 points, a game-high seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior Ochai Agbaji (17), senior David McCormack (13), super-senior Remy Martin (11) and super-senior Mitch Lightfoot (10) were the others who finished in double figures.
The Jayhawks came out strong in the first half, setting the tempo by stringing together a 12-0 run. That stretch was followed shortly after by an 18-2 KU run. Those stretches helped Kansas to a 46-31 advantage at the half. Braun led the team at the break with 13 points.
In the second half, Kansas and Iona went back and forth. The Jayhawks would build on their lead and then the Gaels would cut into that margin. The game never got closer than 10 points. KU did not trail in the contest.
Defensively, the Jayhawks forced the Gaels into 18 turnovers and scored a season-high 33 points off those turnovers. The Jayhawks also finished with a season-high 58 points in the paint, helping KU establish a new season high with 96 points.
Kansas shot 54.9 percent (39-of-71) from the field, its fifth straight game shooting at least 50 percent. The last time the Jayhawks shot 50 percent or better in five consecutive games was during the 2016 season.
Kansas will play next at Saint John’s in the Big East-Big 12 Challenge on Friday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. CT at UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. The game will be televised on FS1.