Nov. 12, 2011
HOUSTON - For Rice University basketball fans, there are high hopes the Owls' opening possession of an 83-49 win over New Orleans Saturday, is a statement about the season to come.
After controlling the opening tip, Tamir Jackson found Arsalan Kazemi driving to the glass for a dunk which started the clock running on the 2011-12 season. The Owls' junior tandem teamed for another jam later in the half and Kazemi scored all five of his field goals on dunks, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds for his 28th career double-double.
The Owls, 1-0 on the year, continue a four-game home stand on Thursday when they play host to Southern. New Orleans fell to 0-2 after opening its season with a 92-40 loss at New Mexico on Friday night.
New Orleans' junior Generra Varmall set both UNO school and Rice opponent records for steals with nine in the game as the Privateers forced 25 turnovers. Rice's defense also had a hand in establishing a new record as UNO made just 24.1 percent of its field goal attempts. The Privateers set a new game mark for lowest shooting percentage for the second straight game as New Mexico held UNO to 25.5 percent shooting the previous night.
Rice never trailed in the game, building a double-digit lead just prior to halftime.
Freshman Dylan Ennis scored on a layup with 11 seconds to play in the half to put the Owls up by 11, 34-23 then stole the ball way from Varmall, feeing Jackson ahead for another layup to beat the buzzer. Rice took a 36-23 lead into the locker room at the break.
UNO could not cut the lead down to single figures in the second half.
Varmall's basket with 16:16 to play cut the Rice lead to 38-27. After trading missed shots, Kazemi jammed a Connor Frizzelle pass to beat the shot clock and on UNO's next possession, Jackson came down with a rebound and made a quick pass ahead to freshman Jarelle Reischel for a fastbreak dunk to put the Owls up 42-27.
With four starters returning for Rice, Reischel filled out the Owls' starting five against New Orleans.
Led by Julian DeBose's 12 points and three assists off the bench, the Owls' rookie class combined for 39 points. Ennis added eight points, Reischel scored seven and Seth Gearhart finished with five points in Rice debuts.
Jackson had nine points and three assists while Lucas Kuipers finished with six points and matched a career high with 10 rebounds.
Varmall scored 12 points to lead UNO while Lovell Cook added 10.
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