Texas Southern turned in a stellar shooting clinic at H.O. Clemmons Arena Saturday night as the Tigers dismantled Arkansas-Pine Bluff 85-64.

Texas Southern turned in a stellar shooting clinic at H.O. Clemmons Arena Saturday night as the Tigers dismantled Arkansas-Pine Bluff 85-64.

Following a personnel move at point guard during the week of practice to freshman Madarious Gibbs, the Tigers shot 52.2 percent from the field on a 24-of-46 performance.

Omar Strong led Texas Southern (10-15, 9-4 Southwestern Athletic Conference) with 32 points, a production Tiger coach Tony Harvey said was a direct result of the transition to Gibbs into the starting lineup.

“Gibbs is just turning the corner, he’s just learning,” Harvey said. “I had been bringing him off the bench all year and he started tonight for the first time. The flow of the game goes a little better with him. I’ve been knowing it but I was trying to play the older kids.”

With Gibbs running the point, the Tigers were “a step faster” with the ball, according to Harvey. Strong, the main recipient, agreed.

“It had a lot to do with it,” Strong said. “We have been waiting on this chance to play together. We talked all week in practice that we wanted to get it going. We wanted to get it going early.”

UAPB matched Texas Southern for much of the first half. The score was tied at 33 with 4:20 left in the opening half but the Tigers outscored the Golden Lions 12-1 the rest of the way to lead 45-34 at the break.

“Texas Southern came out and played well,” UAPB coach George Ivory said. “And you have to match intensity. I don’t think we matched their intensity tonight. They came out and played real physical and we didn’t match that physical play. That’s something we had to work on.”

And while Texas Southern is in second place in the conference and chasing front-runner Mississippi Valley State, the Lions are just trying to stay in the hunt for one of the top four seeds.

“Right now we are sitting here still fighting for a good seed in the (SWAC) tournament,” said Ivory. “We want to be one of the top four seeds and feel like we are in good position to get there.”

Ivory said the downfall in Saturday’s loss was the inability to prevent the Tigers from striking from long range and the charity stripe.

“I thought what really hurt us is we let them come out and hit some three-pointers,” Ivory noted. “We came out very lackidaisical. Anytime you give up 42 free throws you aren’t moving you are reaching instead of moving your feet.”

Lazabian Jackson paced UAPB with 21 points while Savalace Townsend had 13 and Mitchell Anderson chipped in 10.

Gibbas joined four players in double figures for the Tigers with 13 points. Aaron Clayborn and Fred Sturdivant had 11 apiece.

UAPB will play next at home against Prairie View on Monday while the Tigers will travel to MVSU in a battle of the top two teams in the conference.

“It’s been tough for us on the road,” said Texas Southern coach Tony Harvey. “I think, by far, we may have the best team in the league. I think we are ready for the test against them.”