Texas Rolls to Easy Victory

Sterling Gibbs and Jaylen Bond have known each other since sixth-grade AAU ball.

That friendship continued on as the two attended the same camps through high school, and when Gibbs decided to attend Texas, he made sure to recruit his buddy to come with him. Tuesday, the duo did one more thing together, having the top games of their young Texas careers, as the Longhorns coasted to a 93-40 win over Nicholls State.

Gibbs and Bond combined to make 14-of-19 shots and scored 32 points in just 42 combined minutes.

"I think it is a coincidence that we both played well on the same night, being as close as we are," Bond said. "I think it's so good for both of us."

Nicholls State hung tough early despite a scoring burst from J'Covan Brown, who scored more points in the game's first 5:35 — 12 — than he did throughout all of Saturday's game. But the Longhorns ground on the tired Colonels, who were playing their second game in as many nights.

By halftime, when the Longhorns led 53-30, it was apparent that the Colonels were running on fumes, and in the second half, their legs went out altogether, as Texas stifled Nicholls State to just 3-for-26 shooting in the second stanza.

I thought we executed well in spots despite the pressure," said J.P. Piper, Nicholls State coach. "We just did not have anything in us to put the shot in the hole.

"I give credit to Texas with the obvious difference in the second half, in terms of defending," Piper said. "That group has a chance to be a really good defensive team if they want to be."

Brown finished with 23 points, the most he's scored since Nov. 19. He was followed closely by Bond, who made 9-of-12 shots to finish with 18 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes. He also grabbed just one fewer offensive rebound (eight) than the entire Colonels team (nine). Gibbs had 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, drilling all three of his three-point attempts in 18 minutes of play.

"I've said all along from the first day of practice to where he is now that Sterling has improved the most," said Texas coach Rick Barnes. "For a couple weeks, he really struggled. Jaylen started our first two scrimmage games. But, the more we got into execution, that's where he really started struggling. He's getting better with that. Once you learn where you're supposed to be, you can play out of it.

"I think the best teams have balance," Barnes said. "As a coach, do you rely on certain guys at certain times? Yes. But you want to see improvement and I do think the key for our team is going to still be the development of the young guys. That's where we're going to get better."

Sheldon McClellan's hot streak from behind the arc fell flat, as he missed all four of his attempts from distance. But he made 5-of-6 shots from inside the arc and both of his free throws in finishing with 12 points. He also had three steals. Clint Chapman chipped win with seven points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

No Colonel finished in double figures, with Bryan Hammond going 3-for-11 to pace the team with nine points. Trevon Lewis, who scored 30 points in Monday's game, went 3-of-14 for seven points but left the game with cramps.

The Longhorns crushed the Colonels in four major categories, dominating points in the paint 50-20, points off turnovers 25-2, second-chance points 30-8 and fast-break points 16-0. Nicholls State (3-7) scored just 10 second-half points and was out-rebounded 52-28 for the game.

The Longhorns (8-2) weren't celebratory after the game, which finished the "tune-up" portion of the Texas schedule. Saturday, Tempe comes to the Frank Erwin Center, then the Longhorns have North Carolina at Chapel Hill before returning home to face Rice before the start of conference play.

"It is over," Barnes said of the easier portion of the schedule. "I told them that the best team we've played this year (Temple) is coming in here Saturday. They're a tough, hard-nosed, really good basketball team.

"From here on out, there is no doubt that we're not just going to show up and think we're going to win basketball games," Barnes said. "We're going to have to earn them from here on out."

Tip for the Temple game is slated for 1:30 p.m.

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