Iowa basketball blows past Connecticut to win 2K Classic Tournament

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Two KOs at Madison Square Garden. 2K Classic champions.

That was the story for the Iowa men’s basketball team, which overwhelmed Connecticut on Friday 91-72 to claim a preseason tournament title, leaving little doubt in the process.

The Hawkeyes were simply the more physical team here in wins over No. 13 Oregon on Thursday and a Huskies team Friday that fell behind by 20 points before finally rallying in the final minutes.

Iowa forward Tyler Cook (25) drives to the basket past Connecticut forward Tyler Polley (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball final game in the 2K Empire Classic, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It was far too late.

Tyler Cook scored 26 points to lead Iowa’s onslaught. Luka Garza added 22. Connor McCaffery came off the bench to provide a gutty effort and score 19 points with five assists.

An Iowa team written off as too soft to compete in the Big Ten Conference last season answered those questions with a pair of victories in which it simply manhandled its opponents.

Next up is a Wednesday home game against Alabama State.

FULL STORY:Behind team effort and togetherness, Iowa takes 2K Classic

Iowa (4-0) led 43-27 at halftime behind 18 points from Garza and thanks to a big contribution from backup point guard McCaffery. He entered the game 89 seconds in after starter Jordan Bohannon was whistled for his second foul. McCaffery steadied things in his most extensive playing time yet, contributing six points and three assists without a turnover. McCaffery played 16 first-half minutes, getting a 2-minute breather late after he was visibly fatigued.

Connecticut (3-1), meanwhile, looked taken aback by the physical Hawkeye play. The Huskies, who defeated No. 15 Syracuse on Thursday, were a step slow on defense and appeared to have lost their legs on offense. A team that sank 12 3-pointers in each of its previous two games could muster none in the opening 20 minutes against Iowa. The Huskies were 0-for-8 from the arc, with 11 turnovers against an active Hawkeye defense.