Rice-Arizona: What My TV Told Me (Halftime)

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All things considered, the Owls' 33-20 halftime deficit could be much worse. Rice didn't score its first basket outside of an Arsalan Kazemi follow shot until Tamir Jackson drove the lane, made a layup, and drew a foul with 4:51 left in the half. Up until that sequence the Owls were settling for jumpers and seemingly fearful of forays to the basket. Connor Frizzelle and Lucas Kuipers missed open 3-pointers and the Owls turned the ball over in the face of pressure. Oh, and they were completely dominated on the glass before turning up their defensive intensity.

The defense saved them. Arizona is shooting just 41.9 percent, and with the Owls 0-for-8 from behind the arc, they have their effort on defense to thank for keeping them close. After trailing 24-6, the Owls shaved the deficit to 28-20 thanks in large part to Kazemi (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist), who has been fantastic. He doesn't appear the least bit phased by the surroundings, and that is a positive sign with games against Texas and LSU upcoming.

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Kazemi looks like a complete player tonight...showing far more than he did the three games this weekend. Tamir however looks tentative and has had some soft passes for TO's. The terrible shooting from Sunday has carried over to the trip out west.

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