Mon, 24 Jan 2022

Iona wants another upset while No. 4 Kansas doesn't

Field Level Media
28 Nov 2021, 09:55 GMT+10

On Thursday night, Iona scored its first upset over a top-10 team in 41 years.

On Sunday, Iona -- coached by Rick Pitino -- will get another shot at an elite team as the Gaels (6-1) challenge fourth-ranked Kansas (4-1) in the consolation bracket of the ESPN Events Invitational in Kissimmee, Fla.

Iona's big moment came on Thursday, when the Gaels upset 10th-ranked Alabama, 72-68.

"I'm happy for the guys," Pitino said. "These guys are great to coach."

However, Iona lost to Belmont 72-65 on Friday to fall into the consolation bracket.

Kansas knows all about disappointment this week as the Jayhawks were knocked off by Dayton, 74-73, on Friday.

"We didn't execute when we needed to," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

To guard against another upset, the Jayhawks will have to contain Iona's Nelly Junior Joseph, who was named the top pro prospect in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Joseph, a 6-9, 230-pound forward, leads the team in scoring (15.9), rebounds (8.7) and blocks (2.0), and he is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. Much of his damage is done in the paint.

Iona's Tyson Jolly, a 6-4 guard who transferred in after two years at Louisville, is second on the Gaels in scoring (14.4).

In addition, Iona's Elijah Joiner -- a 6-3 Tulsa transfer -- was named the preseason Newcomer of the Year in the MAAC. He scored in double figures 30 times in four years at Tulsa, and he also ranks 13th all-time in his former school's assists chart.

Kansas will counter with 6-5 guard Ochai Agbaji, who leads the team in scoring (23.6). He's an athletic shooter and is making 42.4 percent on three-pointers. He is also making 63.8 percent on two-pointers.

Christian Braun, a 6-6 wing, is second on the Jayhawks in scoring (13.2 points). He leads the squad in rebounds (7.2).

Remy Martin, a 6-foot Arizona State transfer, is Kansas' only other double-digit scorer (12.2). He made first-team All-Pac 12 in each of the past two seasons, averaging 19.1 points both times.

David McCormack, a 6-10, 265-pound center, and 6-1 guard Dajuan Harris are the other Jayhawks starters.

McCormack has yet to find his groove this season, averaging 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. But he was Kansas' most improved player last season, averaging 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds over the Jayhawks' final 19 games.

--Field Level Media

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