Box Score | Box Score
By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Adams scored 15 points on four three-pointers. Freshman Najja Hunter had a career day to lead the Owls, scoring a career-high 23 points on 10-of-16 from the field while grabbing six rebounds.
Senior Connor Cashaw recorded his fifth double-double of the season and the sixth of his career, scoring 16 points while pulling down 10 boards. Cashaw also tied a career-high with seven assists while recording three steals.
The teams entered overtime tied at 66. FAU (11-16, 5-10 C-USA) scored the first four points to take a 70-66 through the first two minutes of overtime. But two straight baskets by Cashaw tied the game. FAU retook the lead with a layup, but a three from Adams gave Rice a 73-72 lead with 1:26 to play in the extra stanza.
The game stayed that way until Bishop Mency made one-of-two free throws with 22 seconds left. After a missed three-pointer by Gerdarius Troutman, Cashaw was fouled and made one-of-two free throws.
Holding a three-point lead, Rice (6-22, 3-12) fouled Payton Hulsey with eight seconds left to prevent a three, and he made both free throws to cut the deficit to one. Adams was then fouled, but he could only make one-of two to keep it a two-point game.
Justin Massey then drove to the basket and was fouled by Cashaw with two seconds left, allowing him to tie the game. However, on the inbounds, Mency found Adams cutting across the middle who then went up the sideline and heaved a shot from just over the half court line that banked in off the backboard, giving Rice the victory.
"I thought our guys really stayed with it," said Rice head coach Scott Pera. "Florida Atlantic, to (its) credit, made a really great run to send it to overtime. But we didn't panic at any point. We stayed with it and, obviously, Ako (Adams) had an opportunity at the end and made an incredible shot. I'm proud of our resilience. I'm proud of the character of the (team) and I'm happy they got a win."
Hunter started the scoring with a layup. After two straight FAU baskets, Rice went on a 7-0 run, capped off by an Adams three-pointer to lead 9-4 just 4:05 into the game. The teams traded baskets over the next 2:30, but two straight baskets brought Florida Atlantic within 14-12.
However, Mency's three sent Rice on a 10-2 run to push its lead to 24-14 with 6:54 to play in the half. FAU scored six straight points over the next 2:13 to cut the deficit to 24-20. But Rice closed the half on an 11-2 run to take a 35-22 lead into halftime.
Malik Osborne started the second half with a layup to give Rice its largest lead of the game. Florida Atlantic scored six straight points to cut the lead to single digits just 2:21 into the second stanza. The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes unto back-to-back threes by Hunter and Adams pushed Rice's lead to 50-36.
However, a 10-3 FAU run cut the lead to seven before Rice answered, scoring seven of the next nine points to lead 60-48 with 6:54 to play.
But Rice missed its next five shots while FAU made four straight, including three straight free throws to go on a 13-0 run over the next 3:16 to take a 61-60 lead, its first since 4-2.
Osborne then made two straight layups to give Rice a 61-54 lead with 1:52 to play. A Jailyn Ingram layup was followed by two Adams free throws with 19 seconds remaining. Troutman's game-tying attempt was off the mark and rebounded by Osborne. However, he threw the ball away and Troutman's second attempt went through with three seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Rice shot just 39.7% (29-of-73) from the field, 29.7% (11-of-37) from the three and 55.6% (10-of-18) from the free throw line. Florida Atlantic was 26-of-66 (39.4%) from the floor, 6-of-24 (25.0%) from beyond the arc and 18-of-24 (75.0%) from the charity stripe.
Rice plays its final road game of the year this Saturday, Feb. 24, when it travels to Miami, Fla., to face FIU. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT and the game will be livestreamed by CUSA.tv.