Jan. 23, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas – Freshman Sean Obi put together one of his best games of the season, tallying 22 points and 17 rebounds, but Rice University men’s basketball dropped a 73-63 decision to Marshall on Thursday evening at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The rookie forward converted 11-of-13 shots on the night to lead all players in scoring and rebounding. He added a pair of assists in 31 minutes of action while playing solid defense as well, blocking two shots and even drawing a charge despite facing foul trouble. It marked his seventh double-double of the season, and third in five Conference USA contests.
The Owls (5-13, 0-5 C-USA) fell behind 33-22 at the intermission thanks to six Herd points off of eight Rice turnovers and a 5-0 advantage for the visitors in second-chance points. The Owls then committed just two more miscues in the second period to set the tone for a comeback.
Rice responded with a 9-1 run at the outset of the second half to pull back within three points early in the frame. Marshall regrouped to sink back-to-back three-pointers and push its lead back out to 44-35. From there, the Thundering Herd extended it to as many as 14 points at the midway point of the half.
The Owls clawed back within single digits, but solid shooting from Marshall kept Rice just out of range to complete the comeback. The Owls pulled within six late in the contest, but the visitors’ solid shooting stayed hot to close out the win.
Rice shot 42.4 percent in the game, but just 5-of-25 from downtown, including a pair of early three-pointers from Austin Ramljak. The senior closed out the game with nine points, two rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
The Owls’ starting back court scored in double figures as Max Guercy tallied 11 points with 4-of-6 free throws and a trio of field goals on the night. He led the team with five of the squad’s 17 assists and grabbed three rebounds. Freshman Marcus Jackson’s 10 points were his highest total since late November as he connected on 4-of-10 field goals and 2-of-5 three-pointers. He chipped in four assists in 27 minutes of play.
Marshall (7-13, 1-4) shot 45.8 percent from the field on the night, including a 55.6 clip in the second half. Ryan Taylor led the team with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Kareem Canty added 18 points of his own off the bench. The Herd sank 22-of-29 foul shots on the night, while Rice connected on 8-of-14.
Despite the Herd’s improved shooting after the break, Rice outscored its opponent in the half. The home team also owned an 18-15 rebound advantage in the latter half to cut the deficit to 36-33 for the game.
Rice wraps up its homestand on Saturday with a visit from Conference USA newcomer Charlotte. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Owls will also host the Battle of the Badges in conjunction with the game. Tickets are available at RiceOwls.com for both the game and the pre-game festivities.
NOTES: The Owls’ 38 points in the paint were a season high … Keith Washington dressed out but did not play as a precaution following a recent procedure to repair dental fractures … he may return to action as early as Saturday.