Feb. 22, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. – In a roller coaster of a game, East Carolina held off Rice University men’s basketball for a 67-55 win on Saturday at Williams Arena. The Owls shook off a slow start to make a comeback bid before the Pirates recovered and held on for the home victory.
Freshman Sean Obi finished off a solid week of play with his second-straight double-double and 11th of the season. He scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting to accompany a team-high 12 rebounds and an assist for the Owls (7-19, 2-11 C-USA).
In a battle of the top two three-point shooters in the conference, Austin Ramljak knocked down 4-of-10 treys en route to 13 points. ECU’s (15-13, 4-9) Akeem Richmond sank 5-of-10 long-range shots to become the program’s career leading three-point shooter. Ramljak added three steals and an assist and Richmond finished with a game-high 23 points.
Dan Peera put in several solid minutes off the bench as he knocked down his first two three-pointers of the season for a career-high six points with two three-pointers. The junior added three rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes of action.
Rice fell behind early on as none of the Owls’ shots seemed to be able to find the basket. ECU staked out a 29-4 lead before the Owls gained any traction. From there, Rice grew more consistent leading to halftime and cut its deficit down to a manageable 40-24 at the intermission. Despite the early struggles, Rice shot 40.9 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and added four three-pointers to combat its eight turnovers, which turned into 12 ECU points.
The Owls rallied back to open the second half, scoring the first eight points of the frame to halve the deficit. Rice then crept within two points before ECU responded to push the advantage back out to double figures at 55-44. From there, Rice got back down into single digits a few times but never took a lead.
Rice shot 40.7 percent from the field in the game and 8-of-29 from downtown. The Owls fell with a 36-30 deficit on the glass, but outscored ECU in the paint, 28-24. In total, ECU converted 14 Rice turnovers into 21 points. The Pirates shot 47.7 percent for the game after cooling off after halftime.
Drew Bender, Marcus Jackson and Ross Wilson led the team with four assists each. The Owls had 18 assists on 22 made baskets on the afternoon.
Rice returns home to host UAB on Thursday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.