Men's Basketball dumps Texas State in season opener
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A new position was no problem for P.J. Tucker in No. 16 Texas' season opener.
An undersized power forward as a freshman last season, Tucker moved to small forward to make better use of his ball-handling skills. He had little trouble finding his shots in his first game at his new position, scoring 18 points to the lead the Longhorns to a 95-63 win over Texas State on Friday night.
"It really doesn't matter where," Tucker said. "As long as I'm on the court, I'm comfortable."
He was 8-of-10 from the floor with an array of jumpers, layups and a pair of thunderous dunks against the overmatched Bobcats (0-1).
Tucker led six Longhorns in double figures. Brad Buckman and Kenton Paulino each scored 13.
Paulino made all three attempts from 3-point range and was 4-of-4 from the foul line. The Longhorns hit 13 of 22 shots from long range.
The game also was the much-anticipated debut of the Longhorns' freshman class, regarded by some of the top recruiting class in the nation. They were brought in to replace four departed seniors who were the backbone of four NCAA tournament teams, including three straight trips to the round of 16 and a Final Four appearance in 2003.
Point guard Daniel Gibson and LaMarcus Aldridge, a 6-foot-10 forward, were McDonald's High School All-Americans last season and were the first pair of freshmen to start for Texas since 1986.
Gibson scored 11 points and had five assists. Aldridge added 10 points and nine rebounds.
"Those four guys that left last year, they had to pick up the slack," Buckman said. "No matter where we were, people were knocking down shots. Even the young people on this team know what to do. Nobody acts young."
Another freshman, Dion Dowell, scored three points. Mike Williams, sitting out as Texas tries to resolve questions about his eligibility with the NCAA, and Connor Atchley are two other members of the recruiting class who did not play.
Bobcats coach Dennis Nutt was impressed with the Longhorns' new lineup.
"Texas just reloads," Nutt said. "They lose a few guys but they keep reloading with more .... They have size and speed and that's a deadly combination."
Anthony Dill scored 19 points to lead Texas State, which kept the score close early as the Bobcats made six of their first eight 3-pointers.
Gibson responded for Texas with two 3-pointers, picking up where he left off when he hit seven 3s on the same floor in leading his high school team to a state championship last March.
"It was great having my first night out and coming out with a win," Gibson said. "This was the first test we had and I was a little nervous."
Texas finally broke it open with a 20-7 run that gave the Longhorns a 45-30 lead.
Tucker capped the run with six straight points. He made a 15-foot jumper, a dunk off a steal, and a reverse layup when he grabbed a rebound and maneuvered around two players to get off the shot.
The Longhorns are 48-3 against in-state rivals since Rick Barnes took over the program in 1998. Texas next travels to Hawaii next week to play in the Maui Invitational.
ON Kenton Paulino:
ON THE INSIDE GAME:
Brad Buckman, Junior Forward
P.J. Tucker, Sophomore Forward
Kenton Paulino, Junior Guard
Daniel Gibson, Freshman Guard
Texas State Head Coach Dennis Nutt
Josh Naylor, Senior Guard
Anthony Dill, Senior Forward