Iowa's promising start withers against No. 10 Texas
NEW YORK -- Iowa forward Aaron White flung his 6-foot-9 frame between two defenders in the late stages of Thursday's game against 10th-ranked Texas.
The look on his face along the baseline as he drew a foul from Myles Taylor spoke volumes. White slumped his shoulders in helpless exhaustion in what was about to become a disappointing Hawkeye loss at Madison Square Garden.
Iowa once led this game by 12 points. In the blink of an eye, Texas played like Texas and turned it into a rout. The final: Longhorns 71, Iowa 57.
What happened? Don't blame White, who scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a performance fitting for the 2K Classic benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project. He just didn't get much help Thursday night.
"I just love watching him play," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said afterward. "I love his intensity level, his fight.
"I just wish more guys would've come with him today. They didn't. That's disappointing."
Only one other Hawkeye, Adam Woodbury, reached double figures in scoring, with 10 points — and he got there with an inconsequential dunk to finish the night's scoring.
Jarrod Uthoff scored six early points in the first 2 minutes, 8 seconds — but only two after that.
Iowa's guards struggled mightily against Texas' quickness. Mike Gesell was 1-for-8. Anthony was Clemmons 1-for-7. Josh Oglesby was 1-for-6. Trey Dickerson was 1-for-5.
"They're better shooters than that," McCaffery lamented.
White is Iowa's go-to guy for the first time in his career with all-Big Ten guard Devyn Marble now an NBA rookie. The senior tried to take the team on his shoulders Thursday.
White made more free throws (14) than the rest of his team made baskets (12).
Iowa shot 29.6 percent.
"I was just trying to play hard and play through each possession and try to lead by example," said White, whose 448 career free throws are inching closer to the school-record 516 set by Roy Marble from 1986-89. "It wasn't anything crazy, just trying to play hard through each play."
With the loss, Iowa (2-1) is relegated to the third-place game here Friday. That'll be played against No. 23 Syracuse at 4 p.m. CST (ESPN2).
It looked for a while as if Iowa would charge into the 2K classic championship game.
After taking a 13-2 lead, the Hawkeyes went the next 7:36 without a field goal.
Texas' huge frontcourt challenged every Iowa shot and fought back.
"We didn't do a good enough job of pump-faking when we got in there," Gesell said. "They're a team that really likes to leave their feet. That's one thing we didn't execute in the gameplan well enough."
Iowa was outscored 56-30 after leading 27-15 with 4:56 left in the first half.
Still, the Hawkeyes were in the game. But after Peter Jok's jumper tied the score at 43-all with 13:58 to play, Iowa didn't score again until a White free throw 6:40 later. Texas rattled off 13 straight points in between.
Jonathan Holmes led Texas (3-0) with 19 points, all but two of them coming after halftime.
"In the first half, we brought the fight to them," White said. "In the second half, they brought it to us."
When Iowa did show some feistiness late, it wasn't the right kind. Big man GabeOlaseni was ejected in the closing minutes after officials ruled he committed a flagrant-2 foul while trying to block a shot by Myles Turner.
The ejection does not carry into Friday's third-place game, because Olaseni didn't throw a punch.
"I thought he was trying to protect the rim. Was it excessive? It probably was," McCaffery said. "He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. Gabe's a good kid."