New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The 10th-ranked Texas Longhorns and Iowa Hawkeyes continue play in the 2K Classic, as the two teams square off at famed Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in semifinal action.
The other game in the event will pit 23rd-ranked Syracuse against California. The two winning teams will meet for the event title on Friday night.
There is a great deal of optimism surrounding Rick Barnes' Longhorns this season. Texas has not disappointed in the early going, opening the season last weekend with blowout wins over North Dakota State (85-50) and Alcorn State (85-53). This marks Texas' fifth appearance in this event, with a 9-4 overall record.
Fran McCaffrey's Hawkeyes are also off to a fast start, winning their first two games in equally impressive fashion. Iowa opened with a 90-56 thrashing of Hampton and followed up with an 87-56 rout of North Dakota State.
These two teams have played four times before with the series all knotted up at 2-2.
With two easy wins thus far, it isn't surprising that Texas' numbers are impressive. The team boasts of a gaudy +33.5 scoring margin, shooting .535 from the floor, while holding the first two opponents to a collective .286 shooting. Point guard Isaiah Taylor has started strong, netting a team-best 15.0 ppg, while dishing out a total of seven assists in the first two games. Myles Turner and Jonathan Holmes round things out with 12.5 and 12.0 ppg, respectively.
In the 32-point win over Alcorn State last time out, Texas shot an impressive .571 from the floor overall, fueled by a scorching 12-of-25 from behind the arc (.480). It was a complete team effort as 12 players landed in the scoring column for Texas, led by Taylor's 12 points. Demarcus Holland and Turner added 10 points each to the cause.
Iowa's fast start is also attributed to strong play at both ends of the court, with the team enjoying a +32.5 scoring margin. The Hawkeyes are an efficient .504 from the floor, including .439 from behind the arc. Iowa has also dominated on the glass to the tune of a +14.0 rebounding margin. Four players are averaging double figures after two games, led by Aaron White's 14.5 ppg. Gabriel Olaseni comes off the bench, but he is averaging a near double-double with 13.0 points and 9.0 rebounds thus far. Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons chime in with 12.5 and 11.5 ppg, respectively.
Just like Texas, Iowa made light work of North Dakota State on Monday, shooting .536 from the floor overall, while outscoring NDSU 32-12 in the paint. Olaseni was a big reason for the disparity, as he led the team with a double-double consisting of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Adam Woodbury also had a double-double (10 pts, 11 rebs). Uthoff added 12 points, while Clemmons (11 pts) and White (10 pts) were also productive.