AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sheldon McClellan scored a career-high 25 points, helping Texas overcome sloppy ball-handling and poor free-throw shooting in a 69-46 victory over Coppin State on Monday night in a Maui Invitational opening-round game.
The Longhorns (2-0) used a stifling zone defense to overcome 26 turnovers and 55 percent free-throw shooting. Coppin State (0-2) shot just 25.5 percent from the floor and made only 14 field goals, five of them 3-pointers.
“I know I have to score but it’s not really on my mind,” McClellan said. “We’re not satisfied with the way we played offensively, but we will get better. I’m happy with the win, but not happy with the way we got it.”
Texas’s 26 turnovers were more than in any game in 2011-12. The Longhorns are without sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo, as the NCAA continues to look into his relationship with an agent.
Freshman Javan Felix, starting for Kabongo and playing a team-high 33 minutes, had eight of those turnovers and was the only Texas player with more than two minutes of court time who didn’t score.
Texas eschewed its normal man-to-man defense and played zone throughout the game, despite the fact that Coppin State uses mostly a four-guard lineup.
“In the last two and a half weeks, we have had to remake ourselves without Myck, and it shows,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “Defensively we are playing zone because of Myck’s situation and the fact that we are undermanned at the point. We can’t have 26 turnovers, and especially eight from our point guard. We are out of rhythm without Myck in there because we have worked with him at that spot for the past four months.”
Ioannis Papapetrou added 10 points and nine rebounds for Texas, whose 12-player scholarship roster consists of five sophomores and seven freshmen.
The Longhorns outrebounded Coppin State 50-25 and led by as many as 27 points late in the second half. Prince Ibeh added nine rebounds in 20 minutes for Texas.
Patrick Cole led Coppin State with 15 points, but made just 3 of 12 field goals, all of them 3-pointers. Troy Franklin added 14 points and had eight steals for the Eagles.
“It was a very tough game for us, very ugly,” Coppin State coach Ron Mitchell said. “Texas intimidated us a little bit today, but I don’t know why. We couldn’t shoot the ball well and then we started committing turnovers, and that doomed us. We pressed and it hurt us.”
The Longhorns jumped out to a 9-2 advantage by the first media timeout and built a 33-19 lead at halftime. Both teams struggled in the first few minutes of the second half before Texas pulled away with six straight points by McClellan that pushed the lead to a 62-37 with 5:38 to play.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)