AUSTIN, Texas -- The losing coach was respectful.
The star player cracked a joke about him getting old.
That's how it is for Texas coach Rick Barnes: Earn career win No. 500 with an 84-50 victory over Sam Houston State and he gets praise from his peers and friendly jabs from his own team.
"I think he's getting old, that's all," said sophomore Jordan Hamilton, who scored 25 points for the Longhorns (No. 21 EPSN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) on Tuesday night.
The win made Barnes just the 12th active major college coach to reach the 500-win milestone and just the 50th in NCAA history.
Barnes, whose career record is 500-250, got sentimental about his 24 seasons at George Mason, Providence, Clemson and Texas.
"I've been extremely well blessed. I have an incredible family. It hasn't been easy on them all the time," Barnes said. "I thought about some of the players I've coached. Some of them are in their 40s now. Life is a vapor, it goes by so quick. I can tell you exactly what I wore in the first game. It seems like yesterday."
For the record, it was a blue pinstripe suit and a green tie.
"It looked good," Barnes said.
First-year Sam Houston State coach Jason Hooten is 2-1 in his career and pondered what it will take to get 498 more.
"That's a long way" to 500, Hooten said. "It couldn't happen to a greater guy. I just want to win one more."
On Tuesday night, Barnes simply had the bigger, faster, better team.
Hamilton, who is averaging 25 points, continued his early-season tear with 9-of-12 shooting. Senior point guard Dogus Balbay had an unusual scoring night for him with a career-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
"I just ran up the court and tried to get easy baskets," Balbay said.
Defensively, Texas (4-1) held Sam Houston State to 29 percent shooting. Texas shot just 3-of-10 from 3-point range but scored 40 points in the paint and went 15-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Balbay was the only returning starter from last season's squad that started 17-0 and rose to No. 1 before falling back to unranked six weeks later.
Texas began this season unranked before a 3-1 start that included a win over No. 19 Illinois and a 68-66 loss to No. 5 Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Longhorns were sluggish through the first 10 minutes against Sam Houston State. Balbay, hardly a scoring threat in most games, led the Longhorns with six points in that stretch.
Balbay and J'Covan Brown had layups off steals before Hamilton made the game's first 3-pointer from the left wing. Consecutive turnovers by Sam Houston State's Nafis Richardson led to baskets by Hamilton and Corey Joseph as Texas opened up a 23-8 lead late in the first half.
Hamilton started finding his shooting stroke, scoring 11 in the first half. The Longhorns forced 11 turnovers -- and had 12 of their own -- in taking a 33-18 lead into halftime.
Texas pushed the lead to 46-26 early in the second. Balbay scored on consecutive layups and Jai Lucas beat two defenders for a twisting shot in the lane to put the Longhorns up by 20 with 14 minutes to play.
Hamilton was able to pick and choose his shots against the smaller Bearkats and had little trouble working his way in for easy looks at the basket. His dribble past one defender for a short bank shot over another put Texas up 60-39.
"I'm a shooter, but I can post up too," Hamilton said.
Bootle bottled up Thompson most of the night, allowing him just three points and four rebounds in 28 minutes. The Bearkats won't face many forwards as talented as Thompson in the Southland Conference.
"I like it," Hooten said. "If a guy can play like that all year long for us, he's going to be one of the best centers in our league."
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|Stephen F. Austin||18-0||-||28-6|
|Sam Houston State||12-6||6||18-16|