Iona-Kansas Preview

The Associated Press

Bill Self isn't exactly patting his team on its collective back after an early signature victory, more so reminding it that improvement must be made before Kansas realizes its true potential.

The second-ranked Jayhawks look to take another step in that direction as they host Iona on Tuesday night.

Kansas wasn't overly impressive in a season-opening win over Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 8, but sophomore Perry Ellis scored 24 points and standout freshman Andrew Wiggins scored 16 of his 22 in the second half to help the Jayhawks (2-0) beat then-No. 4 Duke 94-83 last Tuesday in Chicago.

Wiggins also added eight rebounds despite battling foul trouble.

''Big players make big plays,'' Wiggins said. ''I think our whole team, whoever was on the court, every possession we made a big play."

Self lauded his team's effort against Duke, though he expects Kansas to be even better as the season progresses.

"We didn't really play well in either exhibition game and didn't play great against Louisiana-Monroe, but I did like how our guys responded on the big stage against Duke," Self said. "I'm excited. I'm excited about where we're headed. I'm not thrilled about where we're at, but I do see a lot of potential."

Wiggins is shooting 58.3 percent and has been as good as advertised, leading a nine-man rotation in which everyone averages at least 11 1/2 minutes. The Jayhawks, though, allowed Duke to shoot 51.7 percent from the field and have committed 25 total turnovers.

"There's so many things that we've got to do to improve, and I think we will," Self said. "We've been fortunate. We've been exposed, but we've also won. And that's probably the best combination you can actually have."

Kansas will see a different style of play from Iona (1-1), which plays various zone defenses and starts a four-guard lineup, with the tallest player being 6-foot-9 forward David Laury.

"This will be the first time we've played against a team that's played predominantly zone," Self said. "They'll mix it up. They'll play 1-3-1 and 3-2 and kind of a 2-3 match-up, and they play faster than anybody we've played so far. They play faster than Duke as far as wanting to shoot it quick. And they're small, so we'll be having bigs guard on the perimeter."

The Gaels, of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, lost 73-69 at Cleveland State on Nov. 9 after blowing a 13-point halftime lead, then beat Wofford 76-55 on Saturday. They shot 36.9 percent against Cleveland State and hit only 29 percent of their shots in the first half against Wofford.

Senior Sean Armand hit 7 of 11 from the field and scored 20 points versus the Terriers, and Isaiah Williams had 19 and eight rebounds while finishing 7 of 10 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

This matchup was scheduled in part because Iona school president Dr. Joseph E. Nyre is a Kansas alum.

"I'm pleased to be returning to my alma mater and to Lawrence with the Iona Gaels," Nyre said. "Basketball is so much a part of the fabric of both KU and Iona, and I'm looking forward to sharing Iona with Kansas and Kansas with Iona."

This is the fourth meeting between the schools, with Kansas winning the last matchup in 1988.

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