AUSTIN, Texas — That guard Andrew Jones led the Texas men’s basketball team with 19 points in the No. 4 Longhorns’ 82-67 win over Kansas State at the Frank Erwin Center was no surprise. After all, Jones is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 14.0 points per game.
But the Longhorns’ bounceback from their home loss to Texas Tech was a result, in part, of a little-used weapon: with forwards Greg Brown, Brock Cunningham and Kai Jones unable to play, junior forward Kamaka Hepa got his first start of the season, and 12th of his career, and tied his career high with 15 points.. In his first three appearances this season, Hepa played a total of 8:15 and was averaging just a point per appearance; against the Wildcats, he played 26. Against KSU, he hit a career-high five of eight shots from three-point range, and missed his only attempt from inside the three-point line
The victory improved the Longhorns’ record to 11-2 overall and 5-1 in games against Big 12 teams; K-State fell to 5-9 overall, including just 1-5 against conference opponents.
Hepa started in place of freshman Greg Brown, who along with fellow forwards Brock Cunningham and Kai Jones, was unavailable for the game.
Andrew Jones and Hepa were two of four Longhorns who scored in double figures; forward Jericho Sims and guard Courtney Ramey each scored 14 points.
Hepa was deadly from three-point range, going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Andrew Jones shot 4-of-8 from long range. The rest of the Longhorns combined to hit just 3 of 15 three-pointers.
The game was decided largely in the first half. UT, which never trailed in the game, shot 57.1 percent (16 of 28) from the floor, while holding the Wildcats to just 30 percent (9 of 30) shooting. Not coincidentally, the Longhorns headed to the locker room with a 20-point lead (44-24) at the intermission. A 10-2 Texas scoring run at the start of the second half gave UT a 54-26 lead, effectively ending the game.
The Longhorns will be back in action at 6 p.m. (Central time) Wednesday when they take on Iowa State (2-7, 0-5 Big 12) Wednesday in a game that will be streamed nationally by Big 12 Now on ESPN+.