No. 10 Texas beats Cal, wins 2K Classic championship
Jonathan Holmes can laugh now about being part of the "Chaminade Crew."
It wasn’t funny two years ago, when the Longhorns lost to the Division II host of the Maui Invitational in a Texas-sized embarrassment. Holmes stuck around to help get the program back on track, but something was still missing.
"I told these guys, `You guys haven’t won a tournament,’ and they wanted to do that," coach Rick Barnes said.
They have now, led by an MVP performance from Holmes.
The senior had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 10 Texas shook off the absence of leading scorer Isaiah Taylor to beat California 71-55 on Friday night in the championship game of the 2K Classic.
A night after their starting point guard was lost to a left wrist injury, the Longhorns jumped out to a big early lead and relied on their smothering defense to keep the Golden Bears from cutting too far into it.
"It’s good to do it with this group of guys," Holmes said. "We were joking in the locker room this time two years ago we were in Hawaii and just lost to Chaminade. It shows the progress of this group and it’s really good to look back and see how we’ve grown and how much better we’ve gotten and how we stuck together."
Demarcus Holland had 11 points for the Longhorns (4-0), who led by 17 with 5 minutes left and relaxed just enough defensively that Cal became the first team this season to shoot 30 percent against Texas.
David Kravish scored 19 points for California (3-1). Tyrone Wallace had 14 of his 16 in the second half.
"It’s like a five- or six-headed monster they’ve got down there," Kravish said. "You cut off one head and they bring three more after you. They’re a big team and I don’t know if there’s any other frontline in college that could match that frontline."
Cal beat No. 23 Syracuse 73-59 in the semifinals for its first big victory under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin, but never led in this one after the opening minute.
Taylor was injured late in a 71-57 victory over Iowa on Thursday when he landed hard after he was flagrantly fouled by the Hawkeyes’ Gabriel Olaseni with 2:06 remaining. The sophomore had his wrist wrapped in ice after the game, and he sat on the bench Friday with his arm in a sling.
The Longhorns said he would be re-evaluated when they return to Austin.
Javan Felix started for Taylor, who averages 15 points, and finished with nine points, four assists and five turnovers.
Texas made its first five shots and raced to a 14-4 lead before the first official timeout. The Longhorns pushed it to 26-12 on Connor Lammert’s follow shot with 5:33 left in the first half.
The Longhorns blocked 10 shots after coming in with 19 in their first three games, and held Cal to 7-of-29 shooting (24 percent) in the first half.
California: Cal had won three of its last five against top-10 teams dating to the start of the 2012-13 season. … Jordan Mathews shot just 3 of 12 for 10 points after leading the Bears on Thursday with 22.
Texas: Texas was limiting teams to 28.9 percent shooting and nobody had reached 30 until the Bears finished at 31.3 percent. … Holmes averaged 20 points in the two games at Madison Square Garden.
Though the Longhorns won’t know for sure until Monday, Barnes sounds prepared to be without Taylor for an extended period. "I would think it’ll be a while, but it is what it is and we’ve got to look at it as an opportunity," he said. "We’ve got guys that can take advantage of this and get better."
California: Hosts Cal Poly on Wednesday.
Texas: Hosts St. Francis on Tuesday.