AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — In its first New Year’s Eve game in 14 years, No. 13 Texas wanted to end 2010 on a high note.
The Longhorns did just that.
Jordan Hamilton hit five 3-pointers and scored 24 points to help Texas beat Coppin State 95-75 on Friday.
Tristan Thompson scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Longhorns (11-2).
“I thought we broke out today, and we wanted to end 2010 right,” Texas guard J’Covan Brown said. “We’ve got to bring that to the next part of the season.”
With 11 minutes remaining in the game and the Eagles (4-7) trailing 57-52, Hamilton stole an inbounds pass and converted a layup on the fast break. Hamilton was fouled on the play and his free throw completed the three-point play.
The Longhorns pulled away the rest of the game. Hamilton gave the Longhorns an 83-61 lead after rebounding a missed free throw by Thompson for an easy layup.
“It’s all about being hungry, we always talk about being more hungry,” Thompson said of Texas outrebounding the Eagles 47-17. “If everyone has intentions of being active on the glass, it will show.”
Tony Gallo scored 22 points for Coppin State and Michael Harper added 18.
Freshman Cory Joseph hit Texas’ first shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the wing against Coppin State’s 2-3 zone. Guard Akeem Ellis countered quickly for the Eagles hitting a 3-pointer from the wing to tie it.
However, Joseph continued to find his offensive stroke scoring six of Texas’ points in a 13-0 run.
Harper helped Coppin State back from a quick 16-3 deficit with 15 first-half points, connecting on 3 of 5 3-pointers.
With 7 minutes remaining in the first half, Brown found Thompson running the baseline and lofted it up for an alley-oop dunk that gave Texas a 29-13 lead. Harper was again instrumental in bringing Coppin State back, making consecutive 3-pointers with under 5 minutes remaining in the first half.
Harper connected on a shot as time expired to help cut Texas’ lead to 41-28.
The Eagles continued to cut into the lead as Ellis hit a quick runner in the lane followed by a 3-pointer to start the second half. After a 3 by Coppin State’s Jordan Lee, Thompson threw down a dunk for a 43-36 lead.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, Gallo provided a huge spark for the Eagles hitting three straight 3-pointers. He
completed a four-point play with 12:44 left to tie the game 52-52.
“They made shots, and at the 3-point line they made the shots,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “We didn’t. We missed some shots and they were feeling pretty good.”
Thompson felt the Coppin State run will be seen a positive for Texas.
“That was good for us, and it helps us grow as a team,” Thompson said. “We were either going to come together or grow
apart, and you saw that we came together.”
Brown scored 14 points in the second half for the Longhorns, nailing two 3-pointers in the game’s final 2 minutes.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)