By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cashaw was 11-of-20 from the floor and seven-of-seven from the foul line. Sophomore Ako Adams recorded his third straight double-digit game, scoring 16 points. Senior Bishop Mency added nine points on three, three-pointers while grabbing six boards.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as neither team led by more than four points. The teams traded leads for the first nine minutes of the game. With North Texas leading 14-11, Rice scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 19-16 lead. The Mean Green cut it to one, but a three-point play by Cashaw gave Rice its largest lead of the game, 22-18, with 7:16 to play in the half.
After trading three-pointers, UNT scored five straight points to take a 26-25 lead. Three straight points by Najja Hunter put Rice up 28-26. After North Texas tied the game, the teams traded three-pointers before UNT scored four straight points to take a 35-34 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the half. But Mency's three-pointer at the buzzer sent Rice into halftime with a 37-35 lead.
North Texas opened the second half on a 16-4 run to take a 51-41 lead 3:32 into the second half as Rice scored just twice on its first eight possessions. Cashaw scored four points to cut the deficit to six, but UNT scored eight of the next 10 points to take its largest lead of the game, 59-47, with 11:46 to play.
After Rice made it six-point game, the teams traded baskets before North Texas made consecutive threes to lead 68-58. A jumper by Cashaw followed by a three-point play from Adams pulled Rice within five, but North Texas responded with a 9-2 run to push its lead back to 77-65 with 5:27 to play.
Again, Rice would not go away. Adams connected on a three-pointer that sent the Owls on a 9-0 run over the next 2:51 to cut the deficit to three points. However, that is as close as Rice would get as North Texas scored eight of the final 12 points.
Rice connected on 49.1% (28-of-57) from the floor but were just 8-of-24 (33.3%) from three. North Texas shot just 43.5% (27-of-62), but knocked in 17-of-35 (48.6%) three-pointers. Both teams were 14-of-19 (73.7%) from the foul line and Rice was outrebounded, 39-to-31.
North Texas' Roosevelt Smart led all scorers with 42 points, including a school record 10 three-pointers.
Rice goes back on the road next Thursday, January 18, when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face Southern Miss. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be livestreamed at CUSA.tv.