Hoops: Gibson, Horns Run Vols Off The Island

After a tough loss, a coach often turns to his veterans to steady the team. Rick Barnes instead turned loose Daniel Gibson, playing in just his fourth game in the Orange and White. The results? A career game -- that phrase is going to be uttered a lot during the kid's days on the Forty Acres -- for the true freshman point guard.

A lot of Longhorns had a hand in UT's 95-70 win over Tennessee in the third-place game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational -- all eight Horns who played significant minutes also contributed significantly -- but floor general Gibson also threw in an arm and leg. He scored a career-high 19 points, equaled his career-high from the Iowa game of six assists, grabbed three boards and three steals and committed just two turnovers.

"Daniel Gibson was tremendous today," head coach Rick Barnes said on his Longhorn Sports Network post-game interview. "He was outstanding putting pressure on the zone and moving the ball."

Barnes also called the team "much more active" following Tuesday's night's at-times sluggish performance in the two-point loss to the Hawkeyes.

That offensive activity gave the Horns a lot of open looks, both inside and outside of the Tennessee zone.

"I think this team starts licking its chops when they see a zone," Barnes said.

UT's main three-point threats -- Gibson, Kenny Taylor and Sydmill Harris -- knocked down nine of 19 attempts from beyond the arc, with seven of those coming after the break. Six of them came during a 3-minute, 23-second span of the second half after the Vols had closed an 11-point Texas halftime lead to four at 48-44. Gibson started the barrage with treys on back-to-back possessions to put the Horns back on top by 10, 54-44. After a Tennessee bucket and a scoreless possession by each team, Harris hit his third three in an 11-point performance and then Taylor hit the three-point trifecta with nothin' but net bombs on three of UT's next four possessions. By the time Jason Klotz dropped in a basket off an assist from Taylor, Texas owned its largest lead of the game (to that point), 68-51. Taylor totaled five assists and 16 points.

Gibson, Taylor, Kenton Paulino and even P.J. Tucker, who wound up with 11 points but six turnovers, broke down the Tennessee D with drives, leading to some easy buckets for themselves or the Texas big men. The Longhorn frontcourt also helped themselves with their away from the ball movement and their work on the boards.

Junior forward Brad Buckman turned in a second straight strong outing, scoring nine of his 11 as Texas shot out to an early lead it would never relinquish. He also added five boards. Senior center Klotz came off the bench for a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in 20 minutes of work. True freshman center LaMarcus Aldridge, um, rebounded nicely from his Iowa game struggles, grabbing five boards and scoring eight on three of five shooting. He may have been the biggest beneficiary of the Horns' guard play: Taylor twice and Gibson once set him up for uncontested buckets.

Texas hit 52.4-percent from the field for the game, including a torrid 53.3-percent from beyond the arc in the second half. The Horns limited the Vols to 40.7-percent overall and 33.3-percent from downtown Lahaina.

Tennessee's C.J. Watson equaled Gibson for game-high scoring honors, but the star of the game, despite being green behind the ears, wore the Burnt Orange of Texas.

"Daniel's learning," Barnes said. "We're asking him to do a lot, to make a lot of decisions out there... By the questions he's starting to ask, you know that he's figuring it out."

Texas (3-1) takes on Coppin State Monday night at 7 in the Erwin Center.

Horns Digest Top Stories