Feb. 6, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas - Sean Obi notched his ninth double-double of the season with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Rice University men's basketball led wire-to-wire in a 75-70 win over North Texas on Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (7-15, 2-7 C-USA) scored on their first possession and never looked back in the second-straight home victory. Rice shot 46.7 percent from the field with 6-of-16 three-pointers and a 27-of-37 mark at the foul line on the night, topping NT in each of the categories.
Rice opened the game with nearly a perfect start, jumping to a 19-3 lead and stretching it to as many as 17 points in the first half, at 25-8 a few minutes later. North Texas recovered from its dismal start to rally back within four points before the Owls closed out the frame with a 37-31 advantage. Rice shot 50 percent from the floor in the frame, compared to 40 percent for the visitors.
In the second half, the Mean Green pulled as close as two points with six minutes left in the contest, but Rice sealed the win with steady ball-handling and consistent foul shooting, sinking 10-of-14 free throws in the final three minutes of play.
Obi connected on 8-of-10 attempts from the floor and both of his free throws to account for his 18 points. 12 of the freshman's 13 boards came off the defensive glass in 32 minutes of action. He added one blocked shot and committed just two fouls in the win.
Three other Owls scored in double figures, led by Marcus Jackson's 13 points with a 6-of-8 mark at the charity stripe. The rookie matched a season high with seven of the Owls' 12 assists as well.
Austin Ramljak added 12 points on 9-of-11 free throws and Keith Washington added 11 off the bench. Max Guercy chipped in eight points and three assists and Seth Gearhart added seven points with five boards and five steals.
North Texas (11-11, 2-6) shot 38.2 percent from the field on the night, led by Alzee Williams' 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting. The Mean Green sank six of its 19 three-pointers and 12-of-17 free throws. The visitors claimed a 40-33 advantage in rebounds. Colin Voss notched a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
Rice forced 15 turnovers and converted the miscues into 13 points, while NT scored 18 points off of 17 Owl turnovers. North Texas' 17 offensive rebounds were the most allowed by Rice on the season, but NT scored just 11 second-chance points.
The Owls seek a third-straight home win on Saturday when Tulsa visits. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. and the game will air on CSS and locally on CSN Houston.
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