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Pregame in a hotel ballroom? That's fine with No. 5 Texas after 87-56 win over UCF

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Pregame in a hotel ballroom? That's fine with No. 5 Texas after 87-56 win over UCF

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Five players scored in double figures for No. 5 Texas in an 87-56 drubbing of Central Florida on Saturday at Addition Financial Arena in Orlando.

The Longhorns (26-3, 13-3 Big 12) outscored the Knights 23-4 in the second quarter, turning a 16-14 lead after the first quarter into the makings of a blowout by halftime. UCF shot 1 of 7 in the frame while Texas connected on 10 of 15 field goal attempts to take a commanding lead.

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"That's how the fifth-ranked team in the country plays," Longhorns head coach Vic Schaefer said. "We were really connected and had a really good understanding of the game plan. We knew what they did well and we had to take that away. People were in the right place on the floor, and we were really good."

Schaefer said his team was "intentional" in everything they did, and that was even more important because of the early game time and not having the usual pregame timeline to do their routine. The game tipped at noon Eastern Time, 11 a.m. Central, which is the earliest start since Nov. 29 when Texas took on Oral Roberts in Austin.

"We talk about being intentional on every possession, and we executed on offense," he said. "We took good shots, and we didn't even get a shootaround with the early game."

The next best thing to not getting a shootaround is doing a walkthrough in a hotel ballroom, it seems. The managers and support staff taped an outline of the floor on the ballroom carpet so the players could get the right feel and correct spacing for going over the game plan. And the staff didn't just throw something together. It was very detailed, Schaefer said.

"From the Big 12 insignia in the lane to the UCF on the baseline, everything. It was top-notch," Schaefer said. He had to take a break from watching film and provide an assist when his staff was measuring the lane. It was originally too narrow, he said.

"I got up and walked it off for them," he said with a laugh. "Attention to detail, that's our program."

Freshman guard Madison Booker led all scorers with 22 points on 8 of 17 shooting. She dished out five assists, grabbed three rebounds, and had two steals in 28 minutes on the floor. Taylor Jones scored 15 points with seven rebounds in 18 minutes while Shay Holle had 13 points and six assists. Shaylee Gonzales chipped in 13 points and DeYona Gaston was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points off the bench in 22 minutes.

Holle helped corral Kaitlin Peterson, UCF's dynamic guard who is second in the Big 12 in scoring averaging 20 points per game. Peterson needed to take 20 shots to score 14 points, making just four buckets. Three of them were 3-pointers and she shot 3 for 6 from the foul line. Schaefer said there was a huge focus on slowing Peterson down during the team's prep for the game, and Holle stepped up to take care of it.

"She did an unbelievable job on who I think is one of the best guards in the league," Schaefer said of Holle's defensive effort on Peterson. "She had the primary focus and just did great."

The Longhorns shot 62.5% from the field, 35 for 56, missing just six shots in the second half. Texas had a huge advantage with 54 points in the paint to UCF's 18 and the Longhorns scored 28 points off of 21 UCF turnovers.

It's the eighth consecutive win the for Longhorns who are a game behind Oklahoma for first place with two games left in the regular season. The Longhorns and Sooners meet Wednesday in Norman in what will most likely determine the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.

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