AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kamaka Hepa scored 15 points in a rare appearance for Texas and the No. 4 Longhorns rebounded from their first Big 12 loss of the season by beating Kansas State 82-67 Saturday night.
Hepa, who hadn’t started yet this season and had played in only three games, started in place of freshman forward Greg Brown, who was one of three Longhorns (11-2, 5-1) held out for reasons not immediately disclosed. Given his chance, Hepa made five of Texas’ 12 3-pointers in the blowout.
The Longhorns broke the game open with an 18-0 run midway through the first half keyed by a burst of 3-pointers and a defensive press that rattled the Wildcats.
Andrew Jones made three 3-pointers in the half and the Longhorns turned six early Kansas State turnovers into 14 points to quickly pull away.
Kansas State had to postpone a game earlier in the week because it didn’t have six health scholarship players due to COVID and injury problems, and had only nine available Saturday night. Texas was missing Brown, who is averaging 11.8 points, and top reserves Kai Jones and Brock Cunningham, forcing the Longhorns to go deep into their bench for Hepa and shooting guard Jase Febres.
Hepa, normally the Longhorns’ most animated player on the bench, made two early 3-pointers, then swished two more from the left wing in the opening minutes of the second half. Febres, who hadn’t played since knee surgery last March, finished with six points.
Davion Bradford led Kansas State (5-9, 1-5) with 14 points.
Kansas State: The Wildcats were smothered early on offense and never recovered in dropping their fourth straight loss.. The turnovers forced by Texas’ press led to easy Longhorns and the half-court offense was too often caught deep in the shot clock.
Texas: The Longhorns have found a dead-eye shooting touch from long range. In the last three games, Jones hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds against West Virginia, the Longhorns made 13 3-pointers against Texas Tech and kept launching wide open shots against the Wildcats.