Few Problems In Paradise: Texas 84, Chaminade 62

No. 15 Texas placed five players in double figures to overcome early foul trouble and ease past host Chaminade, 84-62, at the EA Sports Maui Invitational Monday.

Point guard Kenton Paulino served notice that he isn't going to automatically concede his starting spot to a hotshot freshman. While G Daniel Gibson and C LaMarcus Aldridge have cracked the starting lineups as true freshmen, the biggest fish in the early going at the Lahaina Civic Center was Paulino. The junior finished with 14 points, but it was his three-point barrage that sparked the sleepy Horns shortly after the 9:30 a.m. tipoff (Hawaii time).

Forward P.J. Tucker, who led his team in double-doubles last season, paced the Horns with 15 points and 11 rebounds despite picking up his third foul just before intermission. The scrappy sophomore added a block, a steal, and three assists to help Texas finally separate itself from the Silverswords early in the second period. The Horns will face the Iowa, a 76-71 winner over Louisville, at Tuesday afternoon in the tourney semi-finals.

Senior G Kenny Taylor and senior C Jason Klotz each posted 12 points, while Aldridge added 11 to score in double-digits in both of his first two collegiate outings. Junior G Chris Reaves was hotter than a tiki torch for Chaminade, tallying 33 points in 33 minutes on 11-of-14 FG (including 8-of-10 from beyond the arch).

It was Reaves' trey that gave Chaminade its last lead of the game, 9-8, with 16:39 remaining in the first half. Indicative of Texas' foul trouble, Aldridge was quickly whistled for his second personal a few seconds later. However, Klotz knocked down his first three shots, including a jumphook in the lane, that gave Texas a lead it would never relinquish. Paulino nailed back-to-back treys to spot UT a 20-12 advantage but junior G Corey Campbell quickly answered with a three-pointer to pull the hosts within five.

The Horns were saddled with seven team fouls before Chaminade was called for its first infraction with 9:16 remaining until the break. It prompted head coach Rick Barnes to go with a 2-3 zone with about six minutes left. Still, Tucker picked up his third personal at the 5:51 mark and Texas leading, 25-19. But then it starting raining treys in Maui.

Paulino drained his third straight three-pointer, following that shot with a pair of free throws to post a 30-19 Longhorn lead with 5:11 left. Taylor knocked down a trey, and then so did Reaves, and then so did Taylor, and then so did Reaves again. Not to be outdone, three-point specialist Sydmill Harris capped Texas' first half scoring with his first trey of the contest. But Reaves connected on one more three-pointer with but a few ticks on the game clock. Following the scoring flurry, Texas took a 39-28 lead in the locker room.

Texas' first-half lapses consisted of precisely the kind of play that drives Barnes crazy: failure to get back on defense, not boxing out, lack of ball movement, sloppy ball handling and what he described as "silly fouls". The seventh-year head coach typically wants to work the game inside-out, and simply "work the game", rather than see his squad settle for the easy shot as it did during the final five minutes of the first half.

Reaves completed a four-point play when he followed his three-pointer with a foul shot as the Silverswords closed the gap, 42-35. But Aldridge followed with a pair of buckets as his tip-in regained a double-digit lead, 46-35. Chaminade threatened to pull within single-digits, but that's when Gibson gave hoops fans a preview of things to come. His team's lead whittled to 46-37, Gibson came up with a steal near the top of the key, pushed the ball down court before kicking it back out to Harris who drained the three. Texas led 51-37 and never looked back. Paulino's fourth three-pointer pushed the Longhorn lead to 56-39 with just under 14 minutes remaining. An Aldridge FT capped an 11-2 run and made it a 20-point game, 59-39, at the 11:37 mark.

Reaves added another trey, for his 18th point, to narrow the Texas lead at 68-53. But that's as close as the Silverswords got. Gibson got in on the three-point barrage with a trey of his own to make it a 78-57 ballgame. Tucker's FG gave Texas its largest lead, 84-59, but (you guessed it) Reaves closed the book on this one with (you guessed it) another trey for the final margin.

The Horns shot 49 percent (31 of 63) from the field while holding Chaminade to 17 of 49 FG (35 percent). Texas shot 10-of-23 from beyond the arc while the Silverswords were 11-of-27. Texas outrebounded the hosts, 43-28. The Horns forced 18 turnovers while committing 16.


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