Hoops: Texas Torches Coppin State With Treys

On a night when Texas drained 16-of-28 three-pointers against Coppin State's unwavering zone to post its most lopsided win of the season, the only surprise during the 86-50 shellacking Monday was that the Longhorns did not run a single three-point play.

Not one. But that's what happens when a team lives and (in this case) dies by its 2-3 and 1-2-2 zone defense.

For the first time during this 4-1 season, Texas did not place five players in double-digits. But three guards (freshman Daniel Gibson, senior Kenny Taylor, junior Kenton Paulino) accounted for more than half of the team's point totals. Gibson finished with a game-high 17 points (5-of-7 FG) in which every shot he launched was from three-point range. Taylor finished with 14 points on a 4-of-9 outing and, again, all from beyond the arc. Paulino, meanwhile, added 13 points (4-of-5 FG) in which (yep) all four buckets were three-pointers.

"Everyone did a great job of knocking down open shots," Taylor said. "I don't have to put a lot of pressure on myself to make plays because I've got a lot of teammates who can make plays as well."

A couple of Gibson's treys came from the south parking lot.

"I just shoot it some times when I get the open look," he said. "Sometimes I don't even know where my feet are. I just let it go."

Even C Jason Klotz got in on the three-point barrage as his trey gave Texas its largest lead of the night, 85-46, with 62 seconds remaining. The senior accounted for the game's only double-double with 11 points (5-of-11 FG) and 10 rebounds.

"Even our post man can knock down threes," Taylor said. "I think that will be a key point for us this year."

Truth be told: it will be more key when this young Texas team learns to work the zone rather than shoot over it. Afterwards, head coach Rick Barnes said privately that he wanted more dribble-penetration from his guards, that his team was not physical enough with its blockouts and that he was disappointed with his squad's performance on the offensive glass. (Texas outrebounded the Eagles, 47-32, but just 16 of those boards were on the offensive end.) Still, Barnes will take a 36-point November win from his precocious youngsters against a team that has made some noise in the NCAA Tournament.

"They've all got really good range," Barnes said of his shooters. "They're all pretty confident. If they're open, they want to make it. These are guys that are pretty surprised if they don't."

Monday's matchup was Texas' second against the tiny Baltimore school (enrollment 3,900) and the first since its 82-81 win over the Eagles in the 1997 NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Heading into the contest, Taylor led his team in scoring (12.8 ppg) while hitting 11-of-25 (44 percent) from three-point range. But, for the second straight game, Gibson led his team in scoring and -- on Monday -- unleashed the torrent of treys.

His second consecutive three-pointer gave Texas a lead it would never relinquish when it became an 8-6 ballgame nearly three minutes into the first half. Not to be outdone, senior Taylor drained three straight from outside the line to give the Horns their first double-digit lead, 21-11. Gibson's steal along the left baseline led to Klotz's baby hook at the other end and a 24-15 Longhorn advantage. Gibson's third bucket from beyond the arc made it a 27-16 before junior F Brad Buckman slammed it home on the inbound pass. The three-point onslaught continued with Taylor's fourth trey of the half. Senior G Sydmill Harris' shot from beyond the arc gave Texas a 35-18 cushion. Texas led 39-20 following a pair of Taylor free threes, but the visitors knocked down three treys during the final 68 seconds to make it a 42-29 game at the break.

Harris' trey broke a brief second half scoring drought, 46-33, as Texas went the first 3:37 without a FG. Harris followed with a steal and slam dunk to stake a 51-33 Longhorn lead with 14:08 remaining. Then it was D-Gib time as his straightaway three-pointer drew nothing but nylon. Gibson's fifth trey of the night capped a 21-1 Longhorn run. Buckman's traditional three-point play made it 64-38 with 7:53 remaining.

Determined to work the ball inside, C LaMarcus Aldridge went strong to the iron to post a 70-40 Longhorn lead. Klotz followed with a bank shot as Texas opened up a 32-point lead. Fab freshman Aldridge finished with nine points and six rebounds in 23 minutes of work. Given the guard-dominated contest, it was a quiet night for the Longhorn front court. Sophomore F P.J. Tucker was just 1-of-5 from the field but pulled down 10 boards while F Brad Buckman was 2-of-7 from the field for seven points and registered four rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

Paulino connected on back-to-back treys to make it a 78-42 runaway, sending most of the announced 6,093 in attendance to the exit with 3:56 remaining. The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for walkon G Adam Gracely (who stands all of 5-9 and weighs 150 pounds wet). His driving layup, on a dish from walkon F Chris Price, upped the Texas lead at 82-44. LBJ product Henrey Colter sank a pair of freebies for the Eagles to make it 85-48. With the UT students pleading for Price to get on the scoreboard, his FT (after missing three straight down the stretch) completed the scoring at 86-50.

Coppin State fell to 0-3 and travels to Oklahoma Wednesday. The Horns travel to Seton Hall on Saturday, December 4.


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