LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas returns home 2-0 after defeating then-No. 4 Duke 94-83 in the State Farm Champions Classic on Nov. 12 at the United Center in Chicago. The Jayhawks are 2-0 for the sixth time in the head coach Bill Self era and have won 64-straight games in Allen Fieldhouse against non-conference competition. Iona is 1-1 on the season following its 76-55 win against Wofford Nov. 16.
Kansas averages 87.0 points and has a plus-14 scoring margin through two games. The Jayhawks have also dominated the boards, averaging 37.0 per game for a plus-12 rebound margin. KU is also winning the efficiency battle, having outshot its two opponents 55.0 percent to 47.7 percent. Kansas is averaging 17.5 assists and 8.0 steals per game. The Jayhawks lead the Big 12 in field goal percentage, rebound defense (25.0) and rebound margin (+12.5).
Kansas has shown its depth with nine players averaging 13-plus minutes per game. Freshman G Andrew Wiggins leads the team in scoring at 19.0 points per game, which includes a 22-point effort versus Duke. Sophomore F Perry Ellis is just behind Wiggins with an 18.0 scoring margin and he leads the team with an 8.5 rebound average. Freshman G Wayne Selden, Jr. is also averaging in double figures scoring at 11.5 points per game and he leads KU with eight assists in his first two outings. Joining Wiggins, Ellis and Selden in the starting lineup is junior G Naadir Tharpe (7.0 ppg, 5.0 assists) and senior F Tarik Black (4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Jayhawks off the bench averaging 13-plus minutes include freshman G Frank Mason (9.0 ppg, 3.0 apg), sophomore G Andrew White III (6.0 ppg, team-high three 3FGs), freshman C Joel Embiid (5.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and sophomore F Jamari Traylor (4.5 ppg, team-high three blocked shots). Freshmen guards Brannen Greene (3.5 ppg) and Conner Frankamp (2.5 ppg) are also contributing.
Located in New Rochelle, N.Y., with an enrollment of 3,018, Iona is 1-1 on the season after its 76-55 win against Wofford on Nov. 16 in its home opener at Hynes Center. The Gaels are coached by Tim Cluess, who is 68-35 in his fourth season at Iona and 169-58 in his eighth season overall. Under Cluess, Iona has won 20 or more games in each of the last four seasons including the last three. Iona returns six letterwinners, including three starters, from last season’s 20-14 team which finished tied for fourth in the MAAC with an 11-7 league record. In its 2013-14 opener, Iona came out hot and led 44-29 at halftime, but could not hold the lead before falling 73-69 at Cleveland State on Nov. 9. In the win against Wofford, the Gaels shot 68.0 percent from the field, including 62.5 from three-point range. Iona is averaging 72.5 points and giving up 64.0 for a +8.5 scoring margin. Iona is outrebounding opponents by 4.0 per game and averages 5.5 blocked shots per game. Senior guard Sean Armand leads the team in scoring at 18.0 points per contest and is tied for the team lead with five assists and three steals through two games. Junior forward David Laury is the team leader in rebounds with 8.5 per outing as he averages 17.0 points per contest. Laury has a team-best three blocked shots and is tied with Armand with a team-high three steals. Sophomore guard Isaiah Williams is also scoring in double figures at 13.5 points per game and he is second on the team with 6.0 rebounds per outing. Joining the aforementioned in the starting lineup is senior guard Tre Bowman (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, five assists) and sophomore guard A.J. English (5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg). Other Iona regulars include junior guard Tavon Sledge (5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and senior guard/forward Mike Poole (4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg).
Iona College President Dr. Joseph E. Nyre is a Kansas graduate. Dr. Nyre received both an Ed.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas before going on to complete post-doctoral fellowships at both KU and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Nyre has been at Iona since 2011.
Kansas leads the overall series with Iona 2-1 with the last meeting coming at the 1988 BMA Holiday Classic at Kemper Arena, a KU 86-62 victory. In 1980 and 1981, the two schools played a home-and-home series with Iona, winning the first meeting, 81-77, in New York, N.Y., on Feb. 7, 1980. The Jayhawks defeated the Gaels the following season, 94-64, in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas will open the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament when it plays host to Towson on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. (Central). The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV/ESPN3. From there KU will travel to Paradise Island, Bahamas, to play Wake Forest on Thursday, Nov. 28 at 2:30 p.m. Kansas will face either Villanova or USC on Nov. 29 and play its third-round game in the Bahamas on Nov. 30. KU will then play road games at Colorado (Dec. 7) and Florida (Dec. 10). Kansas will play New Mexico on Dec. 14 in the Kansas City Shootout at the Sprint Center and return to Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 21 against national power Georgetown.