New York — Jonathan Holmes didn't hit much more than a table in the first half, crashing hard behind the baseline during one futile possession.
Once he got going in the second half, there was no slowing down Texas.
Holmes scored 17 of his 19 points after halftime, Isaiah Taylor added 15 and the No. 10 Longhorns beat Iowa 71-57 on Thursday night in the 2K Classic.
The Longhorns trailed by 12 in the first half but outscored Iowa 47-27 in the final 20 minutes to advance to the championship game Friday at Madison Square Garden against California.
"I think it starts with me just being the oldest guy on the team," said Holmes, the only scholarship senior on the roster. "I came out and I wasn't as aggressive as I should have been. I started slow and I think it starts with the older guys and we just can't let that happen."
Texas (3-0) didn't take its first lead until early in the second half following Holmes' blistering start out of intermission. Holmes and Taylor helped the Longhorns keep the tempo up and put it away a little over midway through the half.
"We just had the mind-set and coach (Rick) Barnes just told us to attack," Taylor said. "No matter whether it was zone or man, just to attack the big man. We're a good driving team and that's something we do is penetrate to the basket. And that was something we had to focus on in the second half."
Aaron White scored 23 for Iowa (2-1), which shot just 29.6 percent.
"It was a struggle for us offensively," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "You have to give their defense credit. We didn't get back because we were constantly struggling to get a basket and then they were flying at the glass. The reality is we didn't score the ball."
The Hawkeyes led 30-24 at halftime, but Holmes opened the second with a dunk, then later had a 3-pointer and a three-point play in a 16-second span to tie it at 32.
It was 43-all when Holmes and Taylor combined for the final four baskets in a 13-0 surge that provided the Longhorns a 56-43 cushion with 8:04 remaining.
In their fifth 2K Classic appearance, the Longhorns will have a chance for their first title. They lost to Pittsburgh in the 2010 championship game.
More Top 25
(At) No. 12 Villanova 72, Bucknell 65: Dylan Ennis scored 16, including four free throws in the final 30 seconds, and Villanova survived a serious upset scare in the Progressive Legends Classic. Ryan Arcidiacono added 15 points and Daniel Ochefu had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Villanova (3-0). Darrun Hilliard scored 10 points and forced two big turnovers in the final minute to help the Wildcats remain perfect on the season. Chris Hass poured in a game-high 32 points to lead Bucknell (1-2), which trailed by 14 before rallying to take the lead late in the game.
(At) No. 15 Virginia Commonwealth 106, Maryland-Eastern Shore 66: Terry Larrier scored 21 points and VCU took a 61-30 halftime lead.
No. 17 Connecticut 65, College of Charleston 57: Ryan Boatright had 19 points and Daniel Hamilton 15 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at San Juan, Puerto Rico. Amida Brimah added 14 points for the Huskies (2-0), despite struggling down the stretch with foul trouble. Charleston (1-2) got within four in the final minute, but couldn't get any closer after losing big man Adjehi Baru to a right leg injury.
(At) Indiana 74, No. 22 SMU 68: James Blackmon Jr. scored 26 to lead Indiana to the upset.
California 73, No. 23 Syracuse 59: At New York, Jordan Mathews scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, and California reached the championship game of the 2K Classic. California (3-0) seized control by hitting four straight 3-pointers late in the first half and cruised to its first big victory in the Cuonzo Martin era. Jabari Bird added 16 points. The Golden Bears will face Texas in the first semifinal Friday night. Kaleb Joseph and Michael Gbinije each scored 13 for Syracuse (2-1), which couldn't get much going in front of its orange-clad fans who surrounded the court at Madison Square Garden.
Charlotte 103, Penn State 97 (2OT): Braxton Ogbueze scored a career high 26 points, including the opening basket of the second overtime as Charlotte (2-0) held on in the second half at the Charleston Classic at Charleston, S.C.
(At) Minnesota 109, Franklin Pierce 57: Carlos Morris scored 16 and freshman Nate Mason 15 in NIT Season Tip-Off action.
(At) Maryland 66, Fordham 50: Freshman Jared Nickens had 13 points for Maryland (3-0).
(At) Purdue 82, Grambling 30: Isaac Haas led a balanced Purdue attack with 17 points.
(At) Northwestern 69, North Florida 67: Tre Demps scored 15, including a go-ahead jumper with 2.5 seconds left, in the first round of the Cancun Challenge. Northwestern (3-0) trailed 65-60 with 2:36 left, but rallied in the final minutes behind Demps. Bryant McIntosh hit a jumper then followed with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 65 with 1:36 left. Demps' jumper gave Northwestern a 67-65 lead, but Dallas Moore tied it at 67. Demps put the game away with an 18-footer over Trent Mackey. Demarcus Daniels missed a desperation 30-footer for North Florida as time expired.
(At) Pittsburgh 85, Michigan 64: Brianna Kiesel had 27 points off the bench for Pittsburgh. Cyesha Goree had 10 points and 16 rebounds for Michigan. Both teams are 2-1.
(At) Ohio 60, Detroit 57: Quiera Lampkins had 19 points for Ohio (3-0). Rosanna Reynolds scored 15 for Detroit (1-2).