KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Iowa proved that it can play with a Top 5 team here on Monday night. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes only hung for a half.
Third-ranked Texas shook off pesky Iowa with a strong second half to claim 85-60 decision in front of an announced crowd at the Sprint Center. The Hawkeyes went cold after the intermission, hitting just six field goals and scoring 22 on 18 percent field goal shooting.
"I'll just tell you what I told our guys," Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said. "We were better tonight at the end of the game than we were at the beginning. We're better than the team that played previously. Right now, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to become a really good team.
"We faced a really, really good team. In stretches, we competed about as well as you're going to compete. We just couldn't do it consistently."
The Longhorns (4-0) advanced to the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic final, where it will play Pittsburgh Tuesday night. The Panthers knocked off Wichita State in the early game here. The Shockers play Iowa at 6:45 p.m. in the consolation game.
"We don't have much time to think about (the Texas loss)," Lickliter said. "We have a great team tomorrow night back here. We better be ready."
Payne connected on a three-quarter court heave at the halftime buzzer to tie the game at 38-38. It looked good the whole way.
"I didn't really think much about it," Payne said. "I saw the clock running down and I just threw it up."
Iowa struck first coming out of the locker room. Gatens knocked down a 3-pointer off of a Tucker feed for a 41-38 lead.
"We definitely played within ourselves," Iowa Captain Jarryd Cole said about Iowa's first half plus. "Whenever all five of us are clicking on the court at the same time and we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, then we're hard to be beat; we're hard to defend."
Texas responded with a 17-0 run over the next six minutes to grab a 14-point lead with 14:36 to play in the game. The Hawkeyes answered with a 5-0 spurt fueled by a Gatens lay-up and a Bawinkel trey to cut their deficit to nine at the 13:00 mark.
Iowa could get no closer than 10 rest of the way. It had chances but just couldn't overcome that big run by the Longhorns.
"It was definitely a boost there when Matt hit the 3-point shot," said Cole, a Kansas City native. "We didn't get set back on defense. (Dexter) Pittman got some easy baskets and it drained us a little bit. We can't let that happen. That's a mistake. We have to fight through it. It's not going to be easy. We know that."
The Hawkeyes trailed by 14 points midway through the first half after a Pittman dunk. A Bawinkel 3-pointer with 3:36 to play before the intermission.
Texas when up five points a minute later, but a Cole lay-in and Payne's triple tied it at the break.
-Texas shot 55.6 percent from the floor, including 66.7 in the second half.
-Damion James led Texas with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Pittman notched 15 points and eight boards.
-Brennan Cougill scored 10 first-half points. He had only one after the intermission.
-Cougill and Cole both fouled out.
-Iowa held the rebounding advantage at halftime, 17-15. Texas ended up holding a 40-31 edge by game's end.
-Coaching great Eddie Sutton attended the game.