HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Egor Koulechov hit the last of his four three-pointers with six seconds left to lift Rice to an 89-88 victory over Marshall, Thursday night at the Cam Henderson Center.
With the victory, Rice improves to 21-9 on the year and 11-6 overall. The Owls have now won eight of nine games.
Koulechov recorded his 10th double-double of the year, scoring 22 points while grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds. He also had five assists. Marcus Evans scored 13 points and had five assists. Marcus Jackson had 13 points and seven rebounds and Marquez Letcher-Ellis added 12 points.
"That was a great college basketball game," said Rice head coach Mike Rhoades. "Those were two good teams playing a fun style of play. It came down to the last possession. We made a shot and they didn't. It could have gone either way. For us to get a win here in this fashion; I'm just really proud of our team."
Rice entered the second half leading 44-43. Terrence Thompson opened the half with a basket and one-of-two free throws. But a three-pointer by Evans sent Rice on a 13-2 run to its largest lead of the game, 57-48, just 4:15 into the second stanza.
Marshall scored six of the next eight points to pull within five. After Adams made one of two free throws, C.J. Burks hit a three-pointer but Koulechov answered with one of his own. Thompson then got a dunk, but Koulechov again answered with a three.
The teams traded baskets for the next two and a half minutes. With Rice leading 70-62 with 10:17 to play, the Owls made just one of their next seven shots as the Thundering Herd went on an 11-2 run over the 3:14 to take a 73-72 lead. The teams again traded baskets before Austin Meyer hit one-of-two free throws to tie the game at 75.
Ryan Taylor hit a layup but layups by Evans and Cashaw gave Rice a two point lead with 4:34 to play. The teams traded points over the next 2:23 before Jackson drilled a three to give Rice an 84-81 lead. Thompson and Evans traded baskets. Jon Elmore made a layup to pull Marshall within one and following a missed layup by Evans, Stevie Browning gave the Thundering Herd the two-point lead with 23 seconds to play.
Following a Rice timeout, Evans drove into the lane and Taylor came down to help, leaving Koulechov open. Evans fed him the ball, allowing Koulechov to drain a three with six seconds left. Marshall had one last chance, but Thompson's layup rolled off the edge of the rim and Rice walked away with the victory.
Rice started out slow, missing its first six shots of the game as Marshall jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. Evans got the Owls on the board with two free throws 2:36 into the game. After a Marshall three, the teams traded baskets. Evans hit a three to cut the deficit to three, but the Thundering Herd went on an 8-0 run to take its largest lead of the game, 18-7, 5:23 into the game.
Layups by Chad Lott and Koulechov, followed by two free throws from Letcher-Ellis cut the deficit to 18-13. But, Marshall scored five of the next seven points to push the lead to 23-15. Back-to-back baskets by Letcher-Ellis made it a four-point game.
The teams traded baskets before Tim Harrison converted a three-point play and Letcher-Ellis got a putback dunk to make it a one-point game. Terrence Thompson made two free throws, but a Jackson three tied the game at 29 with 6:43 to play in the half.
After Thompson made one-of-two free throws, Koulechov gave Rice its first lead of the game with a layup and Andrew Drone followed with a dunk. But, Ajdin Penava converted a three-point play to tie the game at 33.
The teams traded baskets before Ako Adams hit two free throws for a 37-35 lead with 3:57 to play. Marshall scored eight of the next ten points over the next 2:41 to take a four point lead. But Jackson hit a three and Koulechov made a layup to send Rice into the break with a 44-43 lead.
Rice connected on 44.3% (35-of-79) from the field, including 8-of-26 (30.8%) from three. Marshall was 31-of-72 (43.1%) from the floor and 8-of-27 (29.6%) from three. Rice also grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds to Marshall's 37.
Rice closes the regular season this Saturday, Mar. 4, when it travels to Bowling Green Ky., to face WKU. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast by Fox College Sports Central.
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