HOUSTON, Texas - In a second-straight double-overtime game, Rice University men's basketball stayed strong to the end to top UAB, 82-73, behind a career-high 32 points from Seth Gearhart. The Owls' third-straight win marked the program's longest Conference USA winning streak since the 2006-07 campaign.
The senior notched the second double-double of his career with a team-high 10 rebounds. He shot 8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-5 from downtown and 12-of-13 at the foul line in 48 minutes of action. He also swiped two steals and dished out an assist. It was the second-straight week for him to notch a career scoring high as he tallied 31 points in last Saturday's win at WKU.
Head coach Mike Rhoades said, "What a great college basketball game. Both teams played so darn hard. There was a lot of emotion out there. That's why you play the game - we just keep finding a way. I'm so proud of our guys and we fought and kept fighting. They weren't down in the timeout huddle when we trailed by seven points with a minute left in overtime. We're a good shooting team so we can get back in a game quick if we do the right thing on defense. We're going to trap and press as we move along, but tonight was an example where it really helped us late in the game. I'm just really proud of the guys' effort and their approach and that was a lot of fun."
In addition to the standout performance by Gearhart, numerous other players stepped throughout the game, and particularly in the extra periods, to secure the hard-fought win.
After being held scoreless in regulation, Marcus Jackson sank a three-pointer to pull the Owls (9-15, 6-6) within one point with just 18 seconds left in the first extra frame. Jeremy Jones then capped off the Owls' furious comeback moments later with a steal and go-ahead layup with just over 12 seconds remaining.
The second overtime period was all Rice. After UAB scored the first points of the five-minute session, the Owls took care of the next 11 to clinch the win. Max Guercy scored Rice's first nine points in the second overtime en route to his first-career double-double. The junior guard matched his career high of 21 points to accompany a career-best 10 assists. He connected on 8-of-9 free throws and 5-of-12 field goals on the night.
Rice's 82 points marked a season high as the team shot 40.0 percent from the field and 10-of-32 from downtown. The Owls made their first 14 free throws as a team and finished the game with a 24-of-28 mark at the stripe.
Andrew Drone scored 12 points on 4-of-7 field goals with a 4-of-6 mark at the foul line. He narrowly missed a double-double of his own as he hauled in six of his nine rebounds in the overtimes.
UAB (13-13, 9-4) owned a narrow 43-40 edge on the glass and outscored the Owls, 34-28, in the paint. Rice turned 19 Blazer turnovers into 17 points. UAB shot 40.3 percent from the field, 5-of-20 on three-pointers and 14-of-22 from the foul line.
Robert Brown led the visitors with 20 points before fouling out. William Lee pitched in a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Rice heads out for a two-game road trip, beginning on Thursday at FIU. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and the contest will be televised on American Sports Network.
NOTES: Rice played in consecutive overtime games for the first time since the 1989-90 season ... it marked the program's first-ever consecutive multiple overtime games ... the win was Rice's first-ever against UAB in 11 meetings ... Gearhart's 19 first-half points were the most by an Owl in the first half of a game this season.