KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Texas is proud of its No. 2 ranking and
had no intention of tossing it away with a bad first half in the
title game of the Guardians Classic.
So the Longhorns turned everything around starting from about
the 12-minute mark and rolled to a 68-59 victory over Iowa (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP).
"I think we understood the importance of the game," said point
guard Daniel Gibson, who had 16 points. "I think we understood
that every night we come out to play, we come out to win. We knew
that wasn't one of our better halves, so we took that as
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 10 rebounds before fouling
out as the Longhorns erased a 7-point halftime deficit.
Iowa (3-1) took a 47-39 lead on Carlton Reed's basket with 12
minutes left and then Aldridge picked up his third foul, making
things look even bleaker for the Longhorns (4-0).
But the 6-foot-10 Aldridge got a quick basket and Texas went on
a 13-4 run and took a 52-51 lead on a 3-pointer by Brad Buckman.
It was the first lead for Texas since 19-17 and quieted the
solidly pro-Iowa crowd that had been chanting, "Let's go, Hawks,
let's go Hawks."
"I told our guys that if we're going to be a good team, we've
got to find a way to win when we're not playing well," said Texas
coach Rick Barnes. "We did that tonight."
Buckman rebounded an Iowa miss and Kenton Paulino scored for the
Longhorns to extend the lead to three.
Jeff Horner's basket put Iowa briefly back on top 55-54 before
Aldridge got a huge dunk off a fast break and then added a follow
shot and Buckman completed a three-point play.
Iowa shot just 10-for-33 in the second half.
"The second half, we just couldn't make a shot," said coach
Steve Alford. "And you've got to give credit to their defense. But
you can't shoot 30 percent. We fouled too much the second half."
Aldridge fouled out and Greg Brunner made one free throw to cut
the Texas lead to 61-56 with 1:50 left.
Adam Haluska had 15 points at halftime for Iowa and finished
with 23, one shy of his career-high.
"We just let our guard down a little bit," said Haluska. "We
can't let a zone dictate how we play. I thought we came out in the
first half and defended well."
Doug Thomas came off the bench and was 6-for-6 for 12 points for
The experienced Hawkeyes, who returned five starters and 11
lettermen from last year's 21-12 team, led by as many as nine in
the first half before settling for a seven-point halftime
Aldridge, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds in the 76-75
semifinal victory over No. 13 West Virginia and blocked the potential
winning shot, was named the tournament's MVP.
The Longhorns, who outrebounded their first three opponents
90-48, were outrebounded 22-12 in the first half by the shorter
Hawkeyes and wound up on the short end of a 41-31 rebound total.
"We did a great job on the boards," said Alford. "It's
encouraging to see we outrebounded them. We're going to take some
positives out of this."
Iowa missed 19 of 24 3-point attempts.
- Larry Rose
- Bernard Clinton
- Tom Eades