Self bests Pitino in 1st meeting, No. 4 Kansas tops Iona
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Christian Braun had 20 points and seven rebounds, Ochai Agbaji added 17 points, and No. 4 Kansas beat Iona 96-83 in the first meeting between Hall of Fame coaches Bill Self and Rick Pitino.
David McCormack scored 13 points for Kansas (5-1). The Jayhawks were was coming off their first loss of the season, 74-73 to Dayton on a buzzer-beater in an ESPN Events Invitational semifinal on Friday.
Beating Pitino's Iona team, which opened the tournament with a win over No. 10 Alabama, was enough to salvage third place in the tournament for Self's Jayhawks.
Iona (6-2) got 14 points apiece from Tyson Jolly and Ryan Myers. The Gaels also lost for the first time Friday, dropping a 72-65 decision to Belmont.
Both teams had five players score in double figures.
Unlike its first two games in the invitational, Kansas built a double-digit first-half advantage and held onto it, taking a 46-31 lead at the break behind 13 points from Braun.
Agbaji had a dunk and Braun made a 3 during an 8-0 surge that made it 64-43 with 11 minutes left. Another long-range jumper by Braun gave Kansas a 75-52 lead 3 1/2 minutes later.
Myers, who came off the bench, had a pair of 3-pointers that helped Iona get within 80-68 with 5 minutes remaining, but the Gaels got no closer.
The Jayhawks put together first-half runs of 12-0, 10-0 and 8-0, and shot 58.8% (20 of 34). They shot 54.9% (39 of 71) overall and had 22 assists.
Iona had a pair of 4 1/2-minute scoring droughts, and turned the ball over 10 times during the opening 20 minutes.
Kansas: The Jayhawks tried to make a case to stay in the Top 10. They are 104-15 after a loss under Self since 2003-04. Kansas won its opener at the invitational 71-59 over North Texas.
Iona: The Gaels look like a squad that could reach the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season with Pitino at the helm.
Kansas: At St. John's on Friday night.
Iona: At Marist on Wednesday night.
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