Jan. 4, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas – In the final non-conference action of the regular season, Rice University men’s basketball fell to Harvard, 69-54, on Saturday night at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls now turn their attention to the new-look Conference USA schedule next week.
The Owls (5-8) regained their shooting touch in the game, knocking down 41.3 percent of their field goals, as well as 6-of-19 three-point attempts. Harvard shot 47.8 from the floor, including 4-of-10 three-pointers
The Crimson (13-1) benefitted from 28 trips to the foul line, sinking 21 free throws on the night, compared to a 10-of-13 mark for the Owls.
Keith Washington led Rice in scoring with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The sophomore added four rebounds, four of the team’s 10 assists and a steal. Sean Obi led all players with eight rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. He added six points with two assists and a steal.
Aside from an early seven-point Harvard run, the teams battled evenly in the opening 20 minutes, leading to a 36-30 Crimson lead at the intermission.
In the second half, the Owls promptly closed to within four points on a few occasions. Harvard seemed had an answer for many of Rice’s baskets and kept the home team from completely closing the gap. One last Harvard run gave the team a double-figure lead for good with four minutes to play.
Drew Bender accounted for over half of the Owls’ bench points as the rookie tallied a season-high eight. He knocked down one three-pointer and converted 3-of-4 free throws to accompany two assists and a pair of rebounds.
Austin Ramljak notched eight points on the night, including a 3-of-3 mark at the foul line. The senior added one three-pointer and swiped a steal in 30 minutes. Seth Gearhart and Max Guercy added seven points apiece as the Owl starting five combined for 39 of the team’s 54 points. Freshman Andrew Drone chipped in four points and a pair of rebounds in 11 minutes off the bench.
Harvard claimed a 37-21 advantage on the glass, including 12 second-chance points off of 14 offensive rebounds. The Crimson also benefitted with 23 points from 15 Rice turnovers on the night.
Wesley Saunders led HU with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting while three other players also scored in double figures.
The Owls now turn their attention to the Conference USA schedule. The league season opens at home with a pair of league newcomers visiting Tudor Fieldhouse. Rice hosts FIU on Thursday, Jan. 9, followed by Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Jan. 11. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.