AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The last thing Texas needed after getting overwhelmed at Providence was nine days off between games.
But that's what the schedule dictated during the holiday season after a 22-point defeat. So the Longhorns waited. Then they returned to the court on Monday night and pounded High Point 89-58.
Jase Febres led Texas with 16 points, including 11 in the second half, when he converted 3 of 4 3-pointers.
“Any time you play a game like (Providence), you want to get back on the court as soon as you can," Texas coach Shaka Smart said. "So to go nine days was kind of rough. I give our guys a lot of credit. They came back the day after Christmas and put together four days of rock solid preparation.”
Texas (10-2) begins Big 12 play, where the competition will be more like Providence — some of it better — than High Point. The Longhorns open at No. 6 Baylor on Saturday.
“The physicality goes way up, the intensity," Smart said.
Redshirt sophomore Andrew Jones made his first start for Texas since Dec. 5, 2017 – before he was diagnosed with leukemia. Jones was absent for nearly two years while receiving treatment, rejoining the rotation this season as a reserve. He is the team’s second-leading scorer, and finished with 13 points and four assists.
Courtney Ramey also scored 13 for Texas. Jericho Sims had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Matt Coleman added 10 points and eight assists against just one turnover.
John-Michael Wright and Cliff Thomas led High Point (3-10) with 15 points apiece.
Texas shot 55.4% from the field, including 10 of 23 on 3-pointers.
The Longhorns led by only 12 at halftime, but gained some impetus by finishing the period with an 8-0 push.
“The last few minutes of the first half set the tone for Texas,” High Point coach Tubby Smith said.
Febres hit consecutive 3-pointers as the midway point of the second half approached to give the Longhorns a 63-39 lead.
High Point: The Panthers have struggled all season. They lost six straight games in November. They could not afford to lose a key player. But Curtis Holland, High Point’s leading scorer this season with 14.5 points a game, sat out Monday with a toe injury, apparently nothing serious. Smith said Holland is expected back against Radford on Saturday.
Texas: Though the Longhorns start Big 12 play on Saturday with a 10-2 nonconference record, they have failed to impress voters as Texas did not receive any votes in the weekly AP poll released on Monday. Texas has one remaining nonconference game against LSU in Austin on Jan. 25.
Sophomore forward Kamaka Hepa made the second start of his career, and his first of the season, for Texas. He contributed seven points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 24 minutes. Before Monday, played a total of 20 minutes in eight games. Hepa, who was highly recruited, said “My mindset throughout this whole process was stay ready and be about the team.”
High Point begins Big South competition on Saturday at Radford, which won both meetings last season.
Texas begins Big 12 competition on Saturday at Baylor. The Longhorns and Bears split two games last season, each winning at home.
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