STEPHENVILLE — Five scored in double-figures as Tarleton State downed UNT Dallas, 92-53 in its regular home opener on Saturday night at Wisdom Gym.
The Texans (2-1) returned to Stephenville making a statement against 10-year NBA veteran Josh Howard’s UNT Dallas Trailblazers (1-2).
After the game, fans gathered for over 30 minutes to meet and obtain autographed poster schedules from the players showing their appreciation to the fans for coming out and supporting them.
“It was a great crowd… They [the fans] always overachieve and we certainly do appreciate that,” said coach Billy Gillispie after the game. “Our guys love to play for them and we are so lucky to have them. It was a big crowd for us… These fans, they really do make a difference.”
KiAndre Gaddy led the team in scoring for the first time this season, notching 20 along with seven boards.
For the third-straight game, Devon Barnes scored in double figures, recording a season-high, 17, paired with a team-leading five assists. He shot five-for-five from the charity stripe increasing his season-total to a perfect 13-for-13. The newcomer shot four-for-six from beyond the arc notching all four three-pointers made by the Texans.
Lue Williams tallied his first double-double of his Texan career with 16 points and 10 boards. Emmanuel Innocenti brought down a season-high 13 boards and two steals.
Once again, the bench contributed with two double-digit scoring totals marking the eighth-straight game that a Texan scored 10-plus off the bench. Izzy Miles recorded 11 and Dario Domingos added 10 in his Texan debut.
Neither team scored in the first two minutes, with UNT Dallas putting points on the board first at the 17:41 mark. After that, it was all Texans. Just 30 ticks later, the Texans tied the game at two on an Innocenti bucket to spark a 7-2 run in just 1:07. UNT Dallas cut it to 7-6 at 15:02, when the Texans broke it open. Four different scorers for the Texans creating a 11-0 run to give Tarleton an 18-6 lead at the midpoint of the half.
The Texans didn’t take their foot off the gas to end the half heading into the break leading 49-32. Barnes scored 14 in the first half to lead all scorers. Innocenti tied his season-high in rebounds in the first half with seven. The Texans shot 14-for-16 from the foul line, an 87.5 percent clip.
In the second half, the Texans outscored the Trailblazers, 44-20. The Texans opened the half on a 13-4 run enlarging the lead to 62-36 just after the under-16 media timeout.
In a six-minute span in the middle of the final 20 minutes, the Texans broke out on a 16-2 run extending the lead to 81-43 with 6:06 remaining.
Gaddy scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half including an explosive dunk that lifted the fans to their feet in the final minute of action.
Tarleton shot 33-for-63, a 52.5 percent rate, marking the Texans 25th-straight win when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. The Texans won the battle of the boards, 44-26. For the first time this season, Tarleton won the turnover battle, 19-13. The Purple and White scored 20 points off those turnovers.
Tarleton State will play four straight road games starting on Tuesday night in Peoria, Illinois against Bradley University at 7 p.m. at Carver Arena.