Rice Falls to Southern Miss in C-USA Opener
Ramljak leads Owls with 14 points
Jan. 9, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – For a second-straight game, Rice University men’s basketball faced an opponent that seemingly couldn’t miss the basket in a 75-52 setback against Southern Miss in both teams’ Conference USA opener on Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Four days after Harvard shot 64.6 percent against the Owls (3-11, 0-1), the Golden Eagles converted a season-high 69.6 percent of their field goal attempts in the win, including a 4-of-8 mark from downtown.
After the game, head coach Ben Braun noted, “It wasn’t their outside shot that hurt us, but the way they got to the rim. We had some good looks of our own, but we also made it hard on ourselves at times. We need to get more from each of our possessions.”
The Owls fought against a tough Southern Miss (12-4, 1-0) press and aggressive zone defense and found several open shots from the perimeter in the game. Unfortunately those attempts had a tough time finding the basket as the team sank just 8-of-27 three-pointers in the game. Despite the pressure, Rice turned the ball over only 13 times, compared to 17 for the visitors.
Austin Ramljak accounted for half of the Owls’ threes as he was 4-of-9 from downtown to lead the team with 14 points. Rice shot 37.5 percent from the field in the game, including a solid 47.8 percent mark in the second half.
Rice fell behind 7-0 at the start of the contest and by as many as 16 points in the first half as Southern Miss sank seven of its first eight field goal attempts.
Relatively speaking, USM cooled off from the field as the half wore on to shoot 61.9 percent (13-21) before the intermission. Rice sank 28.0 percent of its attempts as three of the squad’s seven field goals came from beyond the arc to trail 32-22 after one period.
In the second, USM turned up its shooting even more to sink 19-of-25 shots in the period, and all three three-point attempts. Daveon Boardingham led the visitors with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and seven of his team’s 32 rebounds. Michael Craig came off the bench to knock down 7-of-9 shots and add 15 points with eight rebounds.
Tamir Jackson was Rice’s top rebounder as he hauled in six of the team’s 16 boards. Rice picked up seven offensive rebounds and converted them into nine second-chance points. The senior added 13 points and three assists on the night.
Julian DeBose also scored in double figures for the Owls with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting with one rebound, an assist and a steal.
League play continues as Rice takes to the road on Saturday to face Tulsa. The 5:30 p.m. contest will be televised by CSS and Comcast SportsNet Houston.