By: Tim Andrzejewski (email@example.com)
Sophomore Robert Martin led Rice with a career-high 17 points and grabbed four rebounds. Sophomore Ako Adams tied a career-high with 16 points. Junior Connor Cashaw had 15 points, a team-high six rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Sophomore Tim Harrison added 10 points.
"I thought tonight was a quality college basketball game," said Rice head coach Scott Pera. "Both teams played very hard and made winning plays. At the end of the day and in overtime, (Old Dominion's) veteran players and toughness prevailed. But I am proud of our guys. I'm proud of their effort. I'm proud of their execution and I'm proud of their preparation."
Martin scored Rice's (3-13, 0-3 C-USA) first eight points of the game. However, with the game tied at five, Old Dominion (11-3, 2-0) went on a 13-3 run to take an 18-8 lead 7:29 into the game. After trading baskets, the Owls stepped up their defense, forcing ODU to miss 10 of its next 11 shots.
Cashaw then hit a three and Harrison hit a pair from downtown as Rice went on a 9-1 run to pull within 21-19. The Monarchs pushed their lead to four with a layup, but two free throws from Najja Hunter followed by a Cashaw three gave Rice its first lead of the game, 24-23, with 6:21 to play in the half.
After a Trey Porter dunk, Adams hit a three to regain the lead for Rice. Back-to-back baskets by the Monarchs gave them the lead, by a Malik Osborne dunk tied the game at 29 with 2:29 remaining. ODU hit consecutive threes, but a layup by Harrison sent Rice into halftime trailing 35-31.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half. Cashaw hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one, but back-to-back threes pushed ODU's lead to seven just 2:40 into the half. Rice cut the lead to two, but the Monarchs scored eight of the next 11 points to take a 51-44 lead.
But the Owls would not go away. Martin found Harrison for a dunk and then Osborne and Cashaw both made one-of-two free throws. After trading baskets, a Brandan Stith layup made it a five-point game. But Cashaw made another three and after Adams was fouled on a layup attempt, Ahmad Caver was called for a technical foul. Adams made three-of-four foul shots as Rice took its first lead of the second half, 56-55 with 8:01 to play.
Porter made a pair of foul shots to regain the ODU lead, but Martin's third three-pointer gave Rice a 59-57 lead. Porter then made one-of-two fouls shots and Caver made a jumper, but an Adams basket put Rice ahead 61-60.
Old Dominion scored seven straight points to lead 67-61 with 2:48 to play. The teams then traded baskets. But Adams connected on consecutive three-pointers to send the game into overtime.
Rice missed its first six shots of overtime as ODU scored the first eight points. Rice finally got on the board with 48 seconds remaining on a pair of Cashaw foul shots. But the Monarchs made five-of eight foul shots down the stretch to ice the game.
Rice shot 41.7% (25-of-60) from the field, including 14-of-37 (37.8%) from three. The Owls were also 11-of-15 (73.3%) from the charity stripe. Old Dominion connected on 44.8% (30-of-67) from the floor and 11-of-28 (39.3%) from three while shooting just 52.4% (11-of-21) from the foul line. Rice was outrebounded, 46-to-34 and tied a season-high with 18 assists.
Rice continues its homestand this Saturday, January 6, when it hosts Charlotte. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT and the game will be livestreamed at ESPN3.