In yet another one of the the many preseason tournaments at Madison Square Garden, CHD was in the house for the two semifinal games, with a combined three ranked teams playing. In the opener, we saw the classic tale of two halves as Texas started slow but lit up Iowa in the second half on their way to a 71-57 win. The Longhorns scored 47 points in the second half while holding Iowa to a dismal 29.6 percent from the floor.
Iowa stormed out to a 13-2 lead with Aaron White and company controlling a sloppy first 18 minutes of the game. The Hawkeyes controlled the pace of play throughout the entire first half, until the final 1:30 before the break when Texas finished the first half on a 6-2 run to cut the lead at half to 30-24 largely in thanks to three bad Iowa turnovers in the last 90 seconds.
In game number one, from the opening inbound pass of the second half it was all Texas. Forward Jonathan Holmes scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half as the Longhorns shot 60.7 percent from the floor during the second half. Holmes and guard Isaiah Taylor were practically unstoppable in the second half combing for 29 of Texas’s 47 second-half points. Taylor hurt his left wrist late in the game going for an aggressive layup while his team was up 15 with must a few minutes left.
After the game Holmes didn’t want to tout the win too much saying, “We can’t let what happen in the first half ever happen again.”
His coach Rick Barnes, echoed that statement saying that the team was too slow in the first half and didn’t run the offense very well. “We only got the ball in the paint three times in the first half, that doesn’t work.” He added that “We got the lead because of our transitions in the second half.”
While Texas was shooting light’s out, Iowa struggled mightily from the floor, particularly from deep making just 4 of their 14 shots from three. Aaron White did his thing early and often throughout the entire game and was really the only bright spot for Iowa. He finished with a game-high 23 points, largely due to him shooting 14-16 from the line.
The nightcap was quite similar to the style of play as the first game of the evening. Like Texas, Cal had a slow start, but turned a late-first half run into a dominating 73-59 win over Syracuse. The score may not show domination, but Syracuse never cut the Cal deficit to less than 11 in the second-half.
The first half was ugly with Cuse and Cal making just a combined 23 first-half field goals. Syracuse was able to force a lot of bad shots from the Golden Bears for most of the first half with a masterful zone press scheme. In the final three minutes of the first half, Cal nailed four-straight three pointers to close the half out on a 12-2 run taking a 34-22 lead into halftime.
For Syracuse, that trend continued in the second half. Cal’s backcourt of Jordan Matthews and Jabari Bird decimated the Orange. Matthews scored 18 of his game-high 22 in the second half as Cal shot 47 percent from the floor. Jabari Bird was just as good shooting 4-of-5 from deep and totaling 16 points.
Another big bright spot for Cal was forward David Kravish, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He was a force inside the paint and helped foul out the Orange’s big inside force in Kareem Christmas with more than six minutes left in the game.
Syracuse shot just 37 percent from the floor and a terrible 4-15 from deep. Jim Boeheim will have his hands full over the course of the next month with games at Nova and Michigan on the docket. Freshman Chris McCullough was a bright spot for the Orange, scoring 12 points on 5-9 shooting, while pulling down six boards and swatting four blocks.
The 2K Classic didn’t disappoint once again. Not only did it give fans an opportunity to take in some great basketball at one of the legendary venues in the world, it also spotlights and support a very deserving cause in the Wounded Warrior Project.
To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.