Nov. 14, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas – A massive 22-2 run spanning both halves gave Rice University a comfortable lead as the Owls defeated St. Edward’s, 75-63, on Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Tamir Jackson notched his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-best 15 rebounds to lead the Owls (1-1). The senior only converted two field goal attempts on the night but sank 8-of-10 free throws to make up the difference. He added a pair of assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
St. Edward’s opened the game strong, sinking three of its first five three-point attempts, and worked up to a 24-13 lead midway through the first period. Rice adjusted to the Hilltoppers’ (3-1) full-court press and scored its next seven points in transition to pull back within seven points at 26-19.
Trailing 30-20 with just over six minutes remaining in the first half, the Owls shifted into high gear and finished the opening period on an 18-2 run. Leading 38-32 at the intermission, Rice continued its streak into the second half with four more points.
The momentum carried the Owls to a 16-point advantage (49-33) with 15 minutes to play before SEU began its comeback bid. A 13-1 run then pulled the visitors back to within four points with eight minutes to play, but the tight margin was short-lived, as Rice made its free throws down the stretch to put the Hilltoppers away for good.
The Owls drained 76.9 percent of their free throws (30-39), including 20 in the second half. Rice shot 41.7 percent from the field but connected on just 5-of-16 three-pointers.
Seth Gearhart posted a career-high in points for a second-straight game as the sophomore notched 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting and six free throws. He added four rebounds, three assists and three steals on the night after scoring 10 points in the season opener.
Freshman Max Guercy also notched double-figure points for the second time the season as the guard led Rice with 17 points on 4-of-5 shooting an 8-of-8 free throws. He swiped a pair of steals and dished out one assist in 35 minutes of action.
A pair of newcomers also reached double figures for the first time in their young collegiate careers as Ross Wilson and Keith Washington each tallied 10 points. Wilson connected on 4-of-5 shots and hauled in four rebounds while Washington came off the bench to add five boards, three assists and a pair of steals on the night.
Austin Ramljak accounted for two of the home team’s five three-pointers, knocking down both in the first half. The junior added an assist and one rebound.
St. Edward’s was led by 21 points from Shimeek Johnson, who connected on four of the Hilltoppers’ nine three-pointers. The visitors from Austin shot 37.5 percent from the field, but scored 32 points off of 22 Rice turnovers.
Rice held a 42-34 advantage on the glass and converted 11 second-chance points off of 11 offensive rebounds.
The Owls open a four-game road swing on Saturday at Temple University. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.