Feb. 23, 2012
HOUSTON - Rice charged back from a double-digit halftime deficit to beat UCF 83-74 and give head coach Ben Braun his 600th collegiate victory Wednesday in Tudor Fieldhouse.
"I have been a little uncomfortable with this whole thing and I am glad it's over," Braun said following Wednesday's milestone win. "It is really about our team and our team's success. This was a huge win for us especially the way we played in the second half. That may be as good a half of basketball I have seen a Rice team play in a long time."
The Owls trailed by as many as 15 points late in the first half. UCF converted on 8-of-12 three-point attempts and shot 70 percent from the field in the period.
Trailing 49-37 at halftime, Rice responded after intermission.
Connor Frizzelle knocked down a three-pointer on the Owls' first, second-half possession and ignited a 13-2 run to begin the period.
Rice made its first six field goal attempts of the second half and eight of its first 10. Dylan Ennis gave the Owls their first lead of the period when he drilled a three-pointer. The bucket put the Owls up 57-56 with 13:18 to play.
UCF regained as much as a five-point advantage, 65-60, when Marcus Jordan scored following a Rice turnover but the Owls would again rally.
Jarelle Reischel nailed a jumper and after UCF's Tristan Spurlock made 1-of-2 free throws, Rice scored on back-to-back possessions.
Ibrahim put the Owls up for good with a layup following a defensive board and Ennis' putback gave the Owls a 71-68 lead. Arsalan Kazemi added a pair of free throws with 3:33 left to stretch the lead to five.
The Owls led by four with less than a minute to play when Frizzelle ran 20-plus seconds off the clock before being fouled. The senior's two free throws put Rice up by six, 80-74 with 31 seconds remaining.
Tamir Jackson added a 1-for-2 trip to the line following a missed three by UCF's Keith Clanton and Ibrahim closed out the scoring with a fastbreak dunk following another defensive rebound.
UCF came into the game shooting a conference-low 30 percent from three-point range while holding opponents to a similar percentage.
Clanton was 7-for-11 from the field in the first half including 2-for-3 from three-point range. After scoring 16 points in the first half, he was held to just two after the break. The Owls held Clanton to 1-for-6 shooting in the second half. As a team, UCF cooled to just 33 percent shooting in the second period.
UCF's leading scorer, Marcus Jordan, was held to four points on 1-for-5 shooting.
Rice shot 52.5 percent from the game and converted on 7-of-15 three-pointers against the Knights' defense.
Ennis scored 15 points and had five assists while turning the ball over just once.
Kazemi added 12 points, including an 8-for-9 night at the free throw line. He also had eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Jackson added 11 points on a 5-for-7 shooting night while Reischel finished with 10 points.
Dating back to the mid-1980s., the comeback tied for the sixth-biggest deficit overcome in a win for Rice.
For Braun, Win 600 comes during his 35th season as a collegiate coach which has included stops at Siena Heights, Eastern Michigan and California. He is in his fourth season at Rice where the Owls' 16th win of the season on Wednesday marks the most by a Rice team since 2007.
Braun becomes the 40th coach in NCAA Division I history to register 600 wins.
Rice, now 16-12 and 7-6 in C-USA play, travels to Southern Miss on Saturday before playing its final road game next Wednesday at UTEP. The Owls close out the regular season March 3rd playing host to Houston.
UCF, 19-8 and 8-5, plays host to UTEP on Saturday.