SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Seth Gearhart and Marcus Jackson combined for 48 points and Max Guercy chipped in a double-double as Rice University men's basketball topped UTSA, 76-74, on the road on Thursday night.
Despite the Owls' (11-18, 8-9) six-point lead with 30 seconds left in regulation, UTSA pulled within three with 17 seconds to play. It came down to the final seconds as the Roadrunners pulled within one point with 3.6 seconds to play. The home team fouled Gearhart on the ensuing inbounds pass to send the senior to the line.
Gearhart knocked down his first attempt to make the score 76-74, and prompt a UTSA timeout. After the break, the senior missed his second attempt as it caromed off the rim toward the sideline. The Roadrunners recovered the ball and hoisted a long three-point attempt at the buzzer, but the shot went long as the Owls secured the win.
Jackson sank a career-high six three-pointers to tally 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting while Gearhart hit five treys of his own for 23 points on the night, including a 5-of-6 mark from beyond the arc to accompany six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Guercy added 12 points and 10 assists to notch his second-career double-double in the win.
Head coach Mike Rhoades said, "Tonight felt like the opposite of Saturday against Charlotte: we found a way to win the game. We didn't give it to them, we made enough free throws, we got the rebounds we needed, we got the ball inbounds and secured it to earn more free throws. Of course we missed the last one, but it was a good miss because it rolled toward our bench and forced them to take a tough shot. It's a road win in our league and I'm really proud of these guys."
The Owls sank eight of their first 12 attempts to open a 10-point lead in the first eight minutes. After UTSA (13-15, 7-10) battled back to tie the game at 25-25, Rice continued to shoot well and knocked down 9-of-17 three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. Gearhart and Jackson sank four apiece to help the visitors regain the lead and take a 46-35 advantage into the intermission. Rice shot 62.1 percent from the field in the frame.
Rice's fortunes were reversed to start the second half as the squad sank just one of its first nine shot attempts after the break while UTSA worked to within 51-48 and then 56-54. The Owls never surrendered the lead and shot 34.6 percent from the field in the frame, including a 3-of-13 mark from downtown.
On the night, Rice converted 49.1 percent of its shots with 12-of-30 three-pointers and 10-of-15 free throws. UTSA shot 44.1 percent from the field and owned a 40-30 rebound advantage that included 19 second-chance points off of 14 offensive boards.
Andrew Drone sank all four attempts for eight points with three rebounds, one assist, a block and a steal. In his hometown, Jeremy Jones came off the bench to tie for the team lead with six rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes of action.
Rice closes out the regular season on Saturday at UTEP. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. CT at the Don Haskins Center.
NOTES: Rice tied its program record with eight Conference USA wins ... Rice has now made 12 or more three-pointers in four league games this season ... the Owls earned a season sweep against UTSA, including a home win on Jan. 2 in the league opener for both teams.