AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sheldon McClellan scored 20 points, including two free throws with 8.9 seconds left, to carry Texas to a 55-53 win over Fresno State on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
McClellan was 14 of 14 from the free throw line, and his last one proved crucial because it gave Texas a 54-50 lead. Fresno State's Tyler Johnson made a 3-pointer with .7 seconds to play and Kevin Foster was whistled for a foul as Texas tried to get the ball in play. Jonathan Holmes made the last free throw for the final point.
Marvelle Harris scored 11 points to lead Fresno State.
Texas played without two starters, point guard Myck Kabongo, who was held out while the NCAA investigates his relationship with an agent, and injured forward Jaylen Bond, one of the top rebounders in the Big 12.
Holmes grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for Texas, which hasn't lost a season opener since the 2001-2002 season.
Texas clearly missed Kabongo's experience running the offense and his absence thrust Javan Felix, a freshman, into the starter's role. Felix responded well early with 8 points and seven rebounds in the first half. But after a 4 of 5 start shooting, Felix tailed off badly the rest of the way, missing 11 of his next 12 and finished with just one assist.
Both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm. McCellan, who Texas is counting on to provide the scoring punch this season, was just 3 of 10 shooting. McClellan missed his first five shots and the teams were tied 25-25 at halftime.
McClellan then scored six in a row in a burst midway through the second half that kept the Bulldogs from making a run. Fresno State led 41-39 after Jerry Brown's 3-point play before McClellan's baseline layup tied it again.
Texas led 52-50 in the final 30 seconds when Fresno State tried to line up a game-winning 3-pointer, but Kevin Olekaibe missed badly and Texas' Ioannis Papapetrou grabbed the rebound. Fresno State coach Rodney Terry pleaded for a foul to be called but didn't get one.