It took more than 16 minutes before the Longhorns got to take their first free throw.
Prince Ibeh made it before airballing the second.
That's the kind of night it's been for Texas in its first-round CBI matchup against Houston. The Longhorns trail the Cougars, 37-31, at Hofheinz Pavilion and their season could be 20 minutes away from ending.
Cameron Ridley, making his second straight start after not having started in the previous 10 games, won the opening tip but Texas missed three shots on its first possession of the game. Four seconds later, Danuel House threw down a lob from Joseph Young to give Houston a quick 2-0 lead.
Ridley, who grabbed three rebounds in five minutes of action, will miss the rest of the game with an upper respiratory infection.
The Cougars maintained control of the game throughout the first half, outrebounding the Longhorns, 31-24, and grabbing 12 offensive rebounds to Texas' eight. Young led all scoeres with 12 points.
Texas shot 32.4 percent from the floor and hit only three of 16 three-point attempts, with Sheldon McClellan going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Myck Kabongo, who could be playing his last game in a Longhorns uniform as the sophomore is likely to declare for the NBA Draft after this season, had a team-high seven points and three assists in the first half.