Kansas basketball vs. Iona: Jayhawks win ESPN Events Invitational finale

·7 min read

Kissimmee, Fl. — Kansas men's basketball's 2021-22 regular season continued Sunday with an ESPN Events Invitational matchup against Iona.

The Jayhawks came in off of a loss against Dayton, one that ensured head coach Bill Self's squad would not go undefeated this season. The Gaels came in off of a loss against Belmont. This was the final game for both sides at the event.

Was Kansas able to rebound after an upset defeat on Friday? Did Iona defeat another top 25 program during this Florida trip? Which team will head home with the momentum of a 2-1 record at the ESPN Events Invitational?

►RELATED: Kansas men’s basketball suffers upset defeat in ESPN Events Invitational against Dayton

►RELATED: Jalen Wilson returns for Kansas men’s basketball as David McCormack’s struggles continue

Here's what happened, with the latest news first, at HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:

FINAL: Kansas 96, Iona 83

Kansas picked up its second win in the tournament by topping Iona. The Jayhawks controlled the game most of the way, but did struggle from time to time defensively. Christian Braun finished with 18 points to lead Kansas.

Kansas leads 85-70 against Iona with 3:40 left

Iona keeps threatening to pull this into a single-digit deficit, but Kansas keeps finding a way to hold the Gaels off. With 3:40 left, the Jayhawks lead by 15 points.

Recent buckets from Remy Martin and David McCormack have Kansas at five players in double figures scoring now, as Martin hit a 3-pointer to get to 11 points and McCormack hit a shot to get to 10.

Iona has three players with at least 10 points, and two leading the way with 14 each.

Kansas leads 77-61 against Iona with 5:59 left

The Jayhawks are up 16 points with about six minutes left. While the Gaels have an advantage at the free-throw line, it hasn't been enough of one to cost Kansas much. However, Jayhawks head coach Bill Self is still not pleased with how many easy opportunities they're allowing in that regard.

Christian Braun is up to 20 points for Kansas.

Kansas leads 73-50 against Iona with 7:45 left

The Jayhawks are up 73-50 now with 7:45 left and in firm control. Joseph Yesufu hit a 3-pointer for Kansas' latest bucket.

The Gaels are shooting the ball well from the field so far in the second half, but have been turning the ball over too much to be effective. Kansas has 29 points off of turnovers at this point.

Kansas leads 60-43 against Iona with 12:00 left in 2nd half

Mitch Lightfoot is having quite the day off of the bench, and has 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes of action. David McCormack, who started, has six points and four rebounds in 11 minutes.

Overall, the Jayhawks continue to have the advantage when it comes to turnovers. And, they have 15 second-chance points compared to the Gaels' five.

Kansas leads 51-39 against Iona with 15:46 left in 2nd half

Kansas leads by 12 points with less than 16 minutes left, and is led in scoring so far by Christian Braun's 13 points. Braun, who's yet to score in the second half, also has five rebounds and four assists. Three Jayhawks have seven points, including Remy Martin.

Kansas just hasn't shot the ball well in the second half so far, and that's helped Iona stay close. Neither team has a turnover since the second half began.

Kansas leads 46-36 against Iona with 19:10 left in 2nd half

Iona started the second half quickly, and less than a minute into the final 20 minutes has forced Bill Self to call a timeout for Kansas. Jayhawks are still leading, bu tit's a 46-36 game with 19:10 remaining. Tyson Jolly's 3-pointer for the Gaels was the final straw that led to the timeout.

HALFTIME: Kansas 46, Iona 31

Kansas leads 44-31 against Iona with 55.3 seconds left in 1st half

The Jayhawks had led by as many as 22 points, but a run by Iona has cut that lead to 13 with less than a minute left in the first half. Kansas head coach Bill Self has expressed his displeasure, at times, with the Jayhawks letting Iona have too easy of a time offensively.

Kansas leads 41-23 against Iona with 3:08 left in 1st half

Christian Braun became the first player to reach double figures scoring today, and now has 13 points. Otherwise, it's been a pretty balanced scoring effort for the Jayhawks, as eight players have at least two points. Kansas is shooting 62.1 percent from the field and has assisted on half of its 18 made baskets.

The Jayhawks have also benefited from Iona' nine turnovers, scoring 17 points off of them. The Gaels have five points off of five Kansas turnovers.

Kansas leads 31-17 against Iona with 7:35 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks just saw a great stretch of play from David McCormack. McCormack was pulling down defensive rebounds on one end and getting Kansas out into transition quickly. And other end he got to the free-throw line and hit a pair, before later slamming down a dunk on an alley-oop from Christian Braun.

McCormack has six points and three rebounds as Kansas leads 31-17 with 7:35 left in the first half. This is the Jayhawks' largest lead of the game.

Kansas leads 25-17 against Iona with 9:27 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks are penetrating and getting into the paint with relative ease and finishing, whether it's Bobby Pettiford, Joseph Yesufu, Christian Braun or someone else. However, the Gaels are starting to hit their shots now. With 9:27 left before halftime, it's a 25-17 lead for Kansas.

Christian Braun has far and away been the Jayhawks' best player so far today. He has seven points and a couple rebounds. Mitch Lightfoot has also played well, and has five points and three rebounds in the time he's spelled David McCormack.

Kansas leads 17-7 against Iona with 13:47 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks are on a 10-0 run now, and after a basket by Ochai Agbaji force a timeout from Iona. The Gaels aren't hitting their shots and are turning the ball over regularly as well. While it's clear Kansas coach Bill Self isn't totally pleased with how the Jayhawks are playing, they are out in front by a wide margin.

Kansas leads 12-7 against Iona with 15:17 left in 1st half

The Jayhawks jumped out to a fast start and weathered a quick Iona run to lead 12-7 at the first break with 15:17 left in the first half. Each side has three turnovers and five points off of its opponent's turnovers. Christian Braun has started out well for Kansas, and leads his team with five points.

Bobby Pettiford was Kansas' first substitution off of the bench, coming in for Dajuan Harris Jr.

It begins

Ochai Agbaji took the opening tip for Kansas instead of David McCormack, and won it. The game is underway.

Iona's starting five

Kansas' starting five

Kansas warming up

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at jmguskey@gannett.com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas basketball beats Iona at ESPN Events Invitational finale

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting