CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte shot 70.6% in the second half to turn Rice's 10-point halftime lead into a 102-73 defeat, Thursday night at Halton Arena.
Marcus Evans scored 20 points to lead the Owls. It was his second straight 20-point game and his 13th of the season. Connor Cashaw scored 13 and Andrew Drone had 12. Egor Koulechov recorded 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Max Guercy added 12 assists and six rebounds. It was his second double-digit assist game of the season and the fifth of his career.
"It's disappointing," said Rice head coach Mike Rhoades. "We played well in the first half. We talked about guarding the three-point line. In the first half they made five. But in the second, they just absolutely lit it up."
Rice (8-16, 3-8 C-USA) led, 46-36, at the half. However, that lead was quickly erased as Charlotte (9-15, 5-6) hit four straight three-pointer to open the second half. Evans tied the game at 48 with a jumper.
After the teams traded baskets, Andrien White hit a three, but Evans answered right back with one of his own. Joseph Uchebo made a layup, but Cashaw gave Rice the 56-55 lead with a three, 4:35 into the second half.
However, over the next 16 possessions the Owls were one for seven and turned the ball over nine times as Charlotte broke the game open with a 25-2 run. Rice wouldn't get closer than 20 points the rest of the way.
Drone got the Owls on the board first, but Curran Scott hit a three. Koulechov hit a jumper, but five straight points from Charlotte gave it an 8-4 lead, 2:31 into the game.
Rice got six straight points to take the lead. The teams then traded baskets over the next two minutes. With the Owls leading, 15-13, Braxton Obgueze was fouled on a three-pointer and made all three free throws to take a one-point lead.
The teams traded leads over the next three minutes. With the game tied at 20, Charlotte got three's from Jon Davis and Ogbueze to take a six-point lead. But the Owls scored nine of the next 11 points to grab a 29-28 lead with 5:36 to play in the half.
Charlotte retook the lead on a jumper and Evans hit on-of-two free throws to tie it. After Ochebo hit a layup to give the 49ers a two-point lead, Rice closed the half on a 16-4 run to head into the break with a 10-point lead.
The Owls shot 50.8% from the floor and 42.9% from three. Charlotte connected on 56.1% from the field and 58.6% from three.
Rice closes its two-game road trip this Saturday, February 13, when it travels to Norfolk, Va., to face Old Dominion. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT and will be televised by ASN.