March 9, 2013
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HOUSTON, Texas - In his final home game, senior Tamir Jackson scored 24 second-half points and a career-high 30 in the game to rally Rice University men's basketball back from a 20-point deficit before an eventual 77-71 setback against Tulsa at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (5-25, 1-15) face sixth-seeded Houston in Tulsa on Wednesday in the opening round of the Conference USA Championship. The game is set for 6 p.m. CDT at the BOK Center. The winner will face No. 3 UTEP on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.
"I think tonight typifies who Tamir is as a person, not just a player," head coach Ben Braun said after the game regarding his lone senior's incredible performance. "He was struggling and missing shots; he couldn't buy a basket in the first half. A lot of guys would have been frustrated and would have checked out, but he's never checked out in his whole life."
Jackson added seven rebounds and five assists for Rice, which struggled to score in the first half but gained momentum throughout the second half with a 51.5 percent shooting mark, including 10 three-pointers. The Owls outscored the Golden Hurricane (16-14, 8-8) by a margin of 52-44 after the intermission.
There seemed to be a lid on the Owls' basket in the first half as Rice sank just 8-of-28 shot attempts , including 2-of-13 three-pointers. The Owls forced seven Tulsa turnovers to keep within striking distance at the intermission with a 33-19 deficit.
Tulsa seemed to have an answer for every Rice basket early in the second half as well, but the Owls continued to play hard and chip away until their deficit reached single digits. From that point, Rice needed just more than a minute to pull within four points at 75-71. Unfortunately, the clock ran out on the home team as Tulsa knocked down a pair of free throws and held off the Owls in the final seconds to secure the win.
While Jackson shouldered quite a load in the second half, he had company in the form of teammates Julian DeBose and Austin Ramljak, who combined for 24 points in the frame. DeBose tallied 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting with a pair of three-pointers and five of the team's 26 rebounds. Ramljak knocked down five three-pointers to score 15 points on the night. He added four rebounds and two assists.
In just his second game back from a wrist injury, Keith Washington dished out a season-high seven assists. The freshman added three points and a pair of rebounds. Max Guercy added five assists as the Owls notched a season-best 21 assists in the game, compared to just eight turnovers.
Four players scored in double figures for Tulsa, which secured a first-round bye for next week's tournament with the win. Scottie Haralson and D'Andre Wright scored 15 points each to lead the visitors.