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AUSTIN, Texas – If bad games help drive No. 23 North Carolina, here's another for the Tar Heels.
Reggie Bullock had 18 points and 13 rebounds and North Carolina lost to unranked Texas 86-67 on Wednesday night, ending a three-game winning streak that began after being clobbered by then-No. 1 Indiana.
It was the third loss to Texas in four seasons, but these Longhorns are hardly the same caliber as years past, off to their worst start in more than a decade.
"It was an ugly night for us to say the least," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
Sheldon McClellan scored 18 points for Texas, which was forced to address its own bad news afterward. The Longhorns hadn't even sealed the badly needed signature win when Yahoo! Sports reported that the NCAA had suspended guard Myck Kabongo for the entire season.
Kabongo has sat out so far this season while the NCAA investigates the sophomore's relationship with Rich Paul, the agent of LeBron James of the Miami Heat
Following the win, Texas coach Rick Barnes would not directly address the report that cited unnamed sources.
"There's a process that every athlete goes through," Barnes said. "All I can tell you is that process is not done."
He would not take further questions on the Yahoo! report, which claimed that Kabongo provided inaccurate information to NCAA investigators when interviewed. Yahoo! did not disclose its sources.
Kabongo started 34 games last season, averaging 9.6 points and 3.0 rebounds.
North Carolina, which trailed by as many as 19 points, cut the deficit to four in the second half before Texas ran away at the end.
"We like to say we are a running team but Texas did a better job pushing the pace," Williams said.
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.
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.
Jonathan Holmes scored 15 points and Ioannis Papapetrou added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns.
"I think it's pretty big for us," Holmes said. "We've had a couple tough losses because we weren't playing as hard as we should have, but tonight we came out, played harder than them and did what we expected to do. It definitely sets the bar higher for us.
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.
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.
"I felt like they were running us off the 3-point line," Bullock said. "They knew that we were 3-point shooters and they did a great job controlling us."