AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Jase Febres established season-bests with 23 points and seven 3-point baskets, and Texas defeated Central Michigan 87-76 on Saturday after trailing by nine in the first half.
Courtney Ramey added a career-best 20 points for Texas (9-1) and Matt Coleman scored 12. Each handed out six assists. Royce Hamm contributed eight points and 12 rebounds in 16 minutes as a reserve. The Longhorns went 14 of 25 from 3-point range and shot 51% overall, 58% in the second half.
Kevin McKay led Central Michigan with 21 points. David Dileo scored 15, and Dallas Morgan had 14.
Central Michigan (7-4) led 42-36 at halftime after inducing 12 Texas turnovers, primarily with frenetic half-court defense. The Chippewas made six steals in the half.
The Chippewas went 6:21 in the second half without a field goal, settling for one free throw, but they never trailed by more than a point during that span.
Then Morgan heated up with three 3-point baskets in less than two minutes. But Frebres matched those with three treys of his own, also in less than two minutes. Then Ramey made one with 5:09 left, giving Texas a nine-point lead.
Central Michigan: The Chippewas rely on 3-point baskets to generate offense. They averaged 25.6 attempts and 8.8 baskets a game before Saturday. Texas is one of the best teams in the country at preventing 3-pointers, allowing only 4.7 baskets a game. Central Michigan made nine against Texas, including three in the first three minutes.
Texas: The game against Central was far from the first time coach Shaka Smart’s Longhorns struggled against an early season, mid-major opponent at home. They lost to Texas-Arlington and Kent State during the 2016-17 season, and to Radford and VCU in the span of a week last year. This season they needed two late free throws to escape McNeese State 73-71.
Central Michigan is at Robert Morris on Tuesday. They last met in December 2008, a game won by Robert Morris 73-60.
Texas is at Providence on Dec. 21. Providence defeated Texas 71-65 last December in Austin. Alpha Diallo, now a senior, scored a game-best 20 points for Providence. Texas hit just 6 of 24 3-point shots.
For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25