By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice ends the season with a 12-20 record.
Marcus Evans led the Owls with 27 points, six rebounds and three steals. He passed Saint Louis' Larry Hughes for second-place among freshman in conference history. Egor Koulechov recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He also passed Temple Tucker for the most points in school history by a sophomore.
Rice trailed 39-25 at the half. The Owls opened the second half on a 10-5 run to get the deficit into single-digits. Jon Davis hit a jumper, but Rice scored seven of the next eight points, capped off by Guercy's three-pointer to pull within 47-42, 4:45 into the half.
The teams traded baskets over the next 5:09. With Rice trailing 57-48 midway through the half, Drone hit two free throws and Evans hit a layup. Evans then picked off Davis and went in for an uncontested dunk. Evans hit a pair of free throws and following a miss by Davis, Evans drove in for a layup to cap off a 10-0 run and give Rice a 58-57 lead, its first lead since leading 7-6 in the first half.
Davis ended the run with four straight points, but Evans hits one-of-two free throws and Guercy tied the game at 61 with 5:55 to play. Scott hit two free throws and Davis connected on a three for a five-point Charlotte lead. The teams then traded baskets and the game stayed a six-point margin until a minute to go. However, Charlotte was 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the final minute to ice the game.
"It was a tough game," said Rice head coach Mike Rhoades. "I thought in the second half, when we took the lead and put ourselves in position to make a run at it, we just didn't dig enough balls out. We didn't get enough rebounds or loose balls. The other thing is, when you shoot 2-for-18 (from three) and we had some open threes today, it's a bummer because we've been shooting them well the last few weeks."
Charlotte scored the first four points before Andrew Drone scored five straight to give Rice the early lead. The teams then traded baskets as Rice led, 7-6, 4:11 into the game. However, the 49ers went on a 15-0 run over the next 4:06 to take its largest lead of the half, 21-7.
But the Owls came right back, scoring 11 straight points to pull within 21-18 with 8:33 to play in the half. However, Charlotte scored nine straight over the next 3:03 to push the lead to 30-18. Koulechov hit a jumper and Cashaw made one-of-two free throws. But, the 49ers scored nine of the final 14 points to take a 14-point lead into the break.
Rice shot 50.0% (27-of-54) from the field but was a season-low 2-of-18 (11.1%) from three. Charlotte was 46.4% (26-of-56) from the floor and 42.1% (8-of-19) from three.