Jan. 30, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Despite a strong overall performance, Rice University men’s basketball spent the second half playing catch-up against a strong-shooting UTSA team that would not yield in a 89-76 setback on the road on Thursday night.
The Owls (6-14, 1-6 C-USA) shot the ball well throughout the night, finishing with a 48.3 field goal percentage and 10-of-28 three-pointers, but the Roadrunners (7-12, 3-3) seemed to have an answer each time the momentum began to swing towards the visiting team. UTSA shot 49.1 percent from the field and 9-of-17 from downtown on the night to deny the Owls a second-straight win.
Freshman Sean Obi notched his eighth double-double of the season with 19 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. He shot 9-of-15 from the field with one assist before fouling out in the game’s final minute.
Keith Washington provided a spark off the bench with his second-straight double-figure scoring game, notching a career-high 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 three-pointers. The sophomore connected on 7-of-8 foul shots to accompany four rebounds and four assists.
The Owls opened the game shooting well, and posted a 51.7 field goal percentage in the first half, but the Roadrunners connected on 60 percent of their attempts from the floor and 5-of-8 from downtown to take a 51-39 lead into the locker room at the intermission. UTSA scored 16 points off of 12 Rice turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
In the second half, the Owls pulled as close as six points at 74-68, but the Roadrunners responded with a three-pointer and never let Rice any closer than seven points after that point. After the rocky start in ball control, Rice turned the ball over just six times after the break.
Austin Ramljak chipped in 10 points with a pair of three-pointers to accompany one rebound, one assist and a steal. Max Guercy led the Owls with five of the team’s 16 assists to match his five points.
Seth Gearhart added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting while Marcus Jackson tallied eight points with four boards and four assists.
UTSA owned a 37-28 advantage on the glass, but Rice held strong in the paint with a 36-30 lead in scoring down low. Jordan Sims led six Roadrunners in double-figure scoring with a game-high 21 points. Phillip Jones paced the home team in rebounds, with 11, en route to a double-double.
The Owls close out the road trip on Saturday evening with a tough test at UTEP. Tipoff at the Don Haskins Center is set for 8 p.m. CT.
NOTES: Rice matched its season high with 39 first-half points, but 51 UTSA points in the opening period were the most Rice allowed in the first half of a game this season (previously 37 at Texas on Dec. 30) … the game marked just the second time in seven league games that the Owls had more turnovers than assists.