NEW YORK – We have a few final notes and numbers from the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden.
In the first semifinal, for Texas, and Iowa for that matter, it was a classic tale of two halves. Our look at the numbers breaks it down by half, starting with the first half:
A sub-par twenty minutes for Texas. Longhorns were fortunate it was a two possession affair at intermission.
From the opening possession, Texas attacked. Their defense was still strong while the offense just took it to another level.
Texas ultimately finished above average in offensive efficiency while the defense put in an excellent showing. Before the game, Texas assistant Rob Lanier was concerned about Iowa’s potential to put points on the board. Part of the defense for Texas was rooted in offense. “If we execute on offense properly we should be fine.” Simply, eliminate turnovers that can translate into transition points. Lanier also praised his group saying, “we have a good group. Great guys all on the same page.” It showed over the two days at the Garden.
In California’s 73-59 win over Syracuse in the other semifinal, Jordan Mathews of Cal paced all scorers with 23 points. The efficiency metric favored another Cal contributor.
David Kravish – 12 points, 23 efficiency
Jordan Mathews – 22 points, 19 efficiency
Kravish, a 6-10 senior, was 5 of 9 from the floor with nine boards, five blocks and one turnover. Mathews was 6 of 12 from the floor and 8 of 10 from the line. The sophomore guard had no turnovers but only one assist.
Speaking with Fran McCaffrey before the Texas game, he said it was still difficult to think of Syracuse as an ACC team. The Garden, Big East and adoring faithful still come to mind. McCaffrey agreed, but added, “I think the program that was hurt most by realignment was Temple. If they stayed Atlantic 10, they are virtually guaranteed with their resources and tradition, top five in that conference year in and year out. Now they are trying to find their direction.”
The championship was a 71-55 Texas decision. A look at the numbers once more:
Possessions, Offensive Eff.
Texas: 69, 103
California: 69, 80
For the two games the Texas offensive numbers were very consistent, as were the defensive. On both nights the defensive end was outstanding and the major reason Texas claimed the title.
Iowa managed just 33 percent eFG percentage against Texas. Cal was one percentage point better at 34 percent. It adds up to outstanding lockdown defense.
Syracuse’s 66-63 victory over Iowa for third place saw the Orange with a better offensive efficiency. Cal held the Orange to an “OE” of 80 while Jim Boeheim’s club improved to a 96 in the third-place contest. The Syracuse defense earns mention, forcing Iowa into a 26 percent TO rate.
Freshman forward Chris McCullough had another strong showing with a team-leading 20-point, nine-rebound effort.
The championship game saw Jonathan Holmes score a game-high 21 points. In the semis, his efficiency was 18, and it was 29 in the championship. Looking at efficiency per minute (efficiency divided by minutes) we get the following figures:
Vs. Iowa .581 (1st half – .000)
Vs. Cal .906
For the two nights Holmes’ EPM was an outstanding .746. Those excellent numbers made Texas number one in the 2K Classic field.