UAB Uses Late Run to Stun Rice, 61-56

Feb. 10, 2018

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By: Tim Andrzejewski (tim.andrzejewski@rice.edu)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- UAB closed the final 3:37 on a 15-1 run as the Blazers stunned Rice, 61-56, Saturday night at Bartow Arena.

Senior Bishop Mency and sophomore Ako Adams each had 15 points and four rebounds. Junior Connor Cashaw had 13 points, eight rebounds and a game-high five assists and freshman Malik Osborne added a game-high nine rebounds.

The Owls (5-20, 2-10 C-USA) trailed 27-22 heading into the second half. However, Rice scored seven of the first 10 points to pull within 30-29 just 3:31 into the second stanza. After Zack Bryant hit a pair of free throws, Adams and Robert Martin hit consecutive three-pointers to send Rice on an 11-3 run over the next 2:26 and take a 40-35 lead.

UAB (16-10, 7-6) scored five of the next seven points to pull within two, but Adams' fourth three-pointer pushed the lead to 45-40. After UAB got a layup, Rice went on an 11-4 run to take its largest lead of the game, 55-46, with 3:54 to play.

But UAB began its come back. Chris Cokley converted a three-point play and after Cashaw missed a three, Bryant made a pair of free throws. Adams made one-of-two free throws with 2:13 remaining to push the lead to 56-51. But Nick Norton immediately hit a three.

Rice then had two chances on the offensive end, but Cashaw missed a jumper followed by a turnover from Osborne. Nate Darling then hit a three to give the Blazers their first lead since 32-29. Rice again had two chances, but Cashaw turned the ball over and then, with nine seconds left, missed a jumper from the top of the key. Norton sealed the victory for UAB with four straight free throws.

"All the credit goes to (UAB)," said Rice head coach Scott Pera. "They made a heck of a comeback. They didn't panic. We got the shot that we needed with Connor (Cashaw). I thought it was good but it didn't go in. Then they hit the free throws that they needed to make. They're a veteran group. They've been through this a lot. We're learning right now how to deal with it. There's been a lot of growing pains, but I'm really proud of this team. That's a locker room that is hurting."

Rice came out cold from the start as UAB scored the first six points of the game. Mency finally got the Owls on the board with a three-pointer 2:30 into the game. However, five straight Blazer points over the next 1:39 gave UAB an 11-3 lead and forced a Rice timeout.

Mency hit another three before the teams traded baskets, capped by Cashaw's three-pointer to get Rice within 15-11 midway through the first half. Consecutive baskets by UAB pushed their lead to eight, but a layup by Dylan Jones followed by Mency's third three-pointer of the half brought Rice within 19-16 and forced a UAB timeout with 6:00 to play in the half.

However, consecutive three-pointers gave the Blazers their largest lead of the half, 25-16, with 3:49 remaining.

Adams then got on the board with a three-pointer, but UAB answered with a layup. The game stayed that way for the rest of the half until Adams' three-pointer right before the buzzer sent Rice into halftime trailing 27-22.

Rice shot just 20-of-58 (34.5%) from the field, 11-of-33 (33.3%) from three and 5-of-10 (50.0%) from the free throw line. UAB connected on 41.2% (21-of-51) from the floor, 6-of-18 (33.3%) from beyond the arc and 13-of-16 (81.3%) from the charity stripe. Rice was also outrebounded, 39-to-34.

Rice returns home next Thursday, Feb. 15, when it hosts Marshall. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be livestreamed by CUSA.tv.

 

 

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