Feb. 8, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas – One Tulsa run spanning halftime proved to be the difference in Rice University men’s basketball’s 66-56 setback against the Golden Hurricane on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Max Guercy led the Owls (7-16, 2-8 C-USA) with 17 points to accompany four rebounds, four assists and three steals. The sophomore knocked down 6-of-11 shots from the field, including 3-of-8 three-pointers. He sank both free throw attempts as well.
Sean Obi nearly notched his 10th double-double of the season with nine points and 12 rebounds. The freshman shot 3-of-7 from the field with 3-of-6 free throws in 30 minutes of action.
Senior Austin Ramljak matched Guercy from deep, knocking down 3-of-9 attempts en route to 11 points on the afternoon. He added two rebounds, an assist and a steal in the game.
Rice shot just 30.8 percent from the field in the first half, but bounced back nicely in the second with a 43.5 percent clip and giving the team a 36.7 field goal percentage in the game. The Owls knocked down 7-of-28 three-pointers, including six from Guercy and Ramljak. Tulsa knocked down 43.1 percent of its shots in the game and Rice held the visitors to just a 2-of-11 mark from downtown.
Tulsa (11-12, 6-3) knocked down 20-of-31 free throws, compared to 13-of-30 for the Owls. TU also owned a minor 35-33 advantage on the glass, but turned 12 offensive boards into 11 points and racked up 32 points in the paint.
Rice’s Marcus Jackson matched Guercy with four of the Owls’ 15 assists on the day to accompany seven points and a rebound. Fellow freshman Andrew Drone played well in 10 minutes off the bench, chipping in six points and four rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting.
Tulsa’s Rashad Smith led his team with 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Owls put together yet another fast start to the game held a modest lead for a majority of the first half. Tulsa responded shortly before the intermission and ended the frame with nine straight points to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room.
Following the break, the teams played roughly even for several minutes, but the Golden Hurricane slowly increased its advantage to as many as eight points mid-way through the second half. The Owls pulled back within four points on numerous occasions, but couldn’t get over the hump as Tulsa knocked down its foul shots in the final minutes to preserve the win.
The Owls take off for a three-game road trip beginning next weekend. Rice faces Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Obi took over the national freshman lead in rebounding, with 9.9 boards per game (Kentucky’s Julius Randle averages 9.7 and had held the lead) … Ramljak tied Shawn Tyndell (2000-01) for the second-longest three-point streak in program history, as he has now connected from downtown in 29-straight games dating back to last season.