Sheldon McClellan scored 18 points and struggling Texas upset No. 23 North Carolina 85-67 on Wednesday night.
Julien Lewis added 16 points for the Longhorns (7-4), who are off to their worst start since coach Rick Barnes' first season in 1999 while playing without star guard Myck Kabongo. The NCAA is investigating the sophomore's relationship with an agent and the Longhorns have given no indication when or if he'll return.
Reggie Bullock led the Tar Heels (8-3) with 18 points and 13 rebounds. It was the first loss for North Carolina since being clobbered by then-No. 1 Indiana on Nov. 27, and this was mostly another humiliation after trailing by as many as 19 points.
North Carolina cut the deficit to four points in the second half before Texas sealed the badly needed victory.
Barnes knew that a roster of 10 sophomores and freshmen could make for some growing pains. Texas has been used to fast starts for most of the last decade, but the first 10 games felt more like a nosedive at times than some bumps in the roads.
It began with the school announcing that Kabongo, who started 34 games last season, wouldn't join the team immediately. The NCAA has raised questions about Kabongo's relationship with Rich Paul, the agent of LeBron James of the Miami Heat.
The low point was an embarrassing defeat to Division II Chaminade, followed a few weeks later by a 23-point loss to Georgetown.
Beating a ranked team was a chance at finally getting some traction, and the Longhorns may have found some with just two games left before the start of their Big 12 schedule. They will need it: up next is No. 20 Michigan State on Saturday.
James McAdoo had 14 points and joined Bullock as the only Tar Heels in double figures. North Carolina shot a season-low 31.3 percent from the field and turned the ball over 18 times.
Texas attempted 46 shots in the first half. North Carolina had only 30.
"It was an ugly night for us to say the least," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
Jonathan Holmes scored 15 points and Ioannis Papapetrou added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns.
North Carolina made just 3 of 19 3-point attempts. P.J. Hairston, the Tar Heels' third-leading scorer, shot just 2 of 12 from the field.