CORVALLIS, Ore. - Rice University men's basketball fought back from a double-figure deficit but ultimately fell, 67-54, in the season opener at Oregon State on Friday night.
Playing in his home state, senior forward Seth Gearhart put together a solid outing. The Wilsonville, Ore. native paced the team with 14 points, including a 3-of-5 mark from downtown. He added a pair of assists and a rebound before fouling out in 34 minutes of action.
In his collegiate debut, freshman Bishop Mency gave the Owls (0-1) a spark off the bench with 11 points, four rebounds, a block and an assist in 17 minutes of action.
The Owls relied on aggressive defense early on to keep the score close as the team connected on two of its first 12 field goal attempts. Guercy scored the team's first points of the season at the foul line, and Rice's next eight points came in the paint as the young squad grew more comfortable on the offensive end. Gearhart helped pull the Owls from 10 points down midway through the first half to back within three as he scored nine-straight Rice points and drew a charge on the defensive end during the stretch. OSU regrouped to end the half with a 32-22 lead.
After the intermission, the Owls chipped away to pull within two points at 37-35, but the Beavers responded with an eight-point run. Rice refused to go away and clawed back to within five points at 50-45 with four minutes to play. OSU then tallied the game's next six points and never let the Owls any closer than nine points in the final minutes.
Sophomore Andrew Drone made his first-career start and tallied six points on 3-of-5 shooting with a career-high eight rebounds in 24 minutes. Van Green started in his Rice debut and notched five points, one rebound and an assist in 23 minutes.
Dan Peera sank a pair of second-half three-pointers during the Owls' run to match his career high with six points. Junior Max Guercy led the team with six of the team's 10 assists and four of Rice's seven steals. He scored six of his eight points at the foul line and hauled in four rebounds in a team-high 35 minutes.
Rice excelled at the foul line, knocking down 14-of-15 free throws on the night. Unfortunately that success didn't carry over to the field as the team converted just 30.8 percent of its attempts. The Owls were 8-of-29 from downtown in the game, including a 5-of-14 mark in the second half.
Oregon State's Langston Morris-Walker posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds as his squad owned a 44-27 advantage on the glass. The Beavers (1-0) scored 36 points in the paint, while Rice converted 13 OSU turnovers into 13 points.
The Owls return to Houston to open the home slate on Wednesday, Nov. 19 against Prairie View A&M.