By: Tim Andrzejewski (email@example.com)
RUSTON, La. --Rice could never get things going as the Owls had its four-game winning streak snapped, 88-69, Saturday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Egor Koulechov recorded his sixth double-double of the year, scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Marcus Evans scored 18 points and had four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Marquez Letcher-Ellis added 12 points.
With the 18 points, Evans moved into fourth on Conference USA's all-time freshman scoring list with 603 points, passing Memphis' Derrick Rose and DePaul's Quentin Richardson.
Rice got down early as Louisiana Tech scored the first nine points of the game. Koulechov got Rice on the board with a three-pointer. The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes.
With the Bulldogs leading 17-9, Derric Jean hit a three and Dayon Griffin made a layup to push the lead to 13 points. After Evans made two free throws, Branden Sheppard converted a three-point play to give La Tech a 25-11 lead midway through the first half.
Connor Cashaw made a pair of free throws, but Jacobi Boykins answered with a three. Bishop Mency hit a three to cut the deficit to 28-16 with 8:47 to play, and the game stayed that way for the next two minutes before Koulechov hit a layup to make it a 10 point game.
After the teams traded baskets, Rice missed its next five shots and turned the ball over twice as Louisiana Tech went on an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of the first half, 38-20, with 2:38 to play. Rice scored six of the final nine points of the half to head into the break trailing 41-26.
Rice never got closer than 14 points in the second half, as the Bulldogs led by as many as 27.
The Owls were held to just 39.2% (20-of-51) from the field and 26.3% (5-of-19) from three. However, Rice connected on 24-of-29 (82.8%) from the free throw line. Louisiana Tech was 35-of-69 (50.7%) from the floor and 7-of-21 (33.3%) from three. The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle, 40-to-31.
Rice returns to Houston for its final road trip of the season next Thursday, Mar. 3, when it hosts Charlotte. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.