AUSTIN, Texas — On a night Texas struggled to find ways to score, the guy in the lineup whose job is to rebound and play defense came through with the big points down the stretch.

Senior forward Alexis Wangmene scored a career-high 13 points, providing the key baskets late as Texas shook off a terrible shooting night to beat Sam Houston State 56-40 Saturday.

Jonathon Holmes scored 14 points and Sheldon McClellan added 12 for Texas (3-2), which snapped a two-game losing skid.

The Longhorns, who lost all five starters from last season and have just nine recruited scholarship players, shot 32 percent.

Texas didn't build a comfortable lead until a McClellan dunk and a tip-in by Wangmene put the Longhorns ahead 45-35 with just under 4 minutes to play. Those baskets came in a 13-0 Texas run that effectively closed out the game.

"I try to score when I get the chance to do so," Wangmene said. "I want to add something to this team."

Konner Tucker and Darius Gatson each scored 10 points for the Bearkats, (1-5) who have lost five in a row.

The Longhorns annually fill their pre-Christmas schedule with overmatched in-state opponents, and the Bearkats appeared likely to just be another one of those. Texas is 112-15 under coach Rick Barnes against teams from Texas, with only one of those losses coming against non-Big 12 schools. That lone defeat came in 1998 against Houston in Barnes' first game at Texas.

But this one was anything but the breezy blowout the Longhorns likely wanted after two losses in New Jersey at the TicketCity Legends Classic tournament. Texas guard J'Covan Brown, who came in averaging 26.3 points, had his worst game of the season with 11 points on 4 of 15 shooting.

"It frustrated us a lot," McClellan said of Texas' scoring troubles. "Coach got on us about our low percentage shooting, so we tried to make extra passes and take the right shot. Some people took some bad shots."

The poor shooting by Texas and an early run by Sam Houston State put the Longhorns in a hole they would spend most of the first half trying to recover from. Texas missed 12 of its first 13 shots and Sam Houston State led 16-4.

"Discipline, or lack of, offensively," was how Barnes described Texas' struggles.

But the Bearkats simply couldn't hold off the bigger and faster Longhorns forever. Brown converted a three-point play that started a 19-4 Longhorns run. Holmes made it 20-20 with an easy putback before Brown gave Texas the lead with a 3-pointer from the right corner.

Another 3-pointer by Holmes — Texas made just two in the half — put the Longhorns ahead 28-22 at halftime. Brown had 10 points in the half and Holmes had nine.

"I thought we fought hard," Sam Houston State coach Jason Hooten said. "We have a lot of guys on our team that have never been 1-5 and I am one of them. It is a little disheartening."

Texas seemed ready to run away with it, but the shooting struggles continued in the second half.

McClellan made a 3-pointer from the left corner, but the Longhorns missed seven of their first eight shots of the half to let the Bearkats keep hanging around. Michael Holyfield's tough layup over two defenders kept Sam Houston State within 34-30 with 11 minutes left.

Barnes seemed to take the struggles in stride and rarely got off his chair to watch the action.

Texas was poised to seize control when Wangmene converted a three-point play to put the Longhorns ahead 39-30 with 7:28 to play, but the Bearkats answered with a 3-pointer by Tucker and layup by Holyfield to stay close into the final minutes.

"It was a real slow start," McClellan said. "The mood just wasn't there. We've got to get back in the gym and work harder."