HOUSTON, Texas – Rice University men’s basketball saw its two-game home winning streak come to an end in a 63-54 setback to Old Dominion on Thursday night at Tudor Fieldhouse. Max Guercy led Rice with his second-straight 20-point outing.
Head coach Mike Rhoades said, “Tonight was disappointing. We’ve been playing well over the last two weeks but tonight we were flat. We had a good practice earlier today, and that’s what’s crazy when you work with college-aged kids. We were so tentative, and you can’t do that against a good team. Our margin of error is already small, and we turned the ball over 16 times and gave up 11 offensive rebounds that they pretty much put right back for points. It was disappointing to play like this at home. We had a good student crowd and we appreciate that.”
Guercy connected on 5-of-7 attempts from the field, including three treys and 7-of-8 free throws. The junior added three rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
Seth Gearhart also scored in double figures with 10 points and a 5-of-6 mark from the foul line. The senior added two steals, one rebound and an assist in 34 minutes of action. Classmate Dan Peera paced the team with a career-high five rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. The guard added three points and tied Guercy for the team lead with three assists.
The Owls (10-17, 7-8 C-USA) started slow on offense in the first half and spent the frame playing catch-up with the Monarchs. Rice shot 37 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including a 4-of-12 mark from downtown and uncharacteristic 2-of-6 at the foul line. ODU stretched its lead to as many as 11 points late in the frame before the Owls closed the gap to 30-20 at the intermission as Marcus Jackson scored all eight of his points in the opening frame.
The teams traded scores early in the second half as ODU (21-6, 10-5) slowly worked up to a 16-point lead. Rice pulled back to within 11 points, with a chance to cut it to single digits just past the midway point of the period. The Monarchs then responded to push their advantage to as many as 17 points late in the game and hold off a comeback bid. Behind aggressive play from the Owls’ freshmen late in the contest, the home team cut it to nine points for the final margin.
The Owls shot 42.1 percent from the field and 10-of-26 from downtown on the night to accompany a 12-of-16 mark at the free throw line. ODU shot 47.1 percent from the field, held a 30-23 edge in rebounds and turned its 11 offensive boards into 15 second-chance points. The visitors added 30 points in the paint and scored 22 points off the Owls’ 16 miscues. Rice scored 11 points off of 13 Monarch turnovers and added 10 points in the paint.
Rice closes out its home schedule as it seeks a series sweep of Charlotte. The Owls will honor the senior class prior to the 7 p.m. tipoff.
NOTES: With Rice's 10 three-pointers on the night, the Owls have 240 on the season to set a new program record … the previous mark was 237 three-pointers, set by last season’s team.