HOUSTON, Texas - Marcus Jackson notched a career-high 30 points as Rice University men's basketball notched a 68-64 win over Prairie View A&M in the team's home opener on Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The sophomore guard knocked down 8-of-13 shots from the field with four three-pointers to reach the mark. He scored 20 points in the second half and was a perfect 10-of-10 at the foul line as well to accompany four rebounds and a pair of assists. His previous career scoring high was 14 points, set at UTEP last February.
After a back-and-forth battle for much of the first half, the Rice defense dug in late in the period. The Owls held the Panthers scoreless for the final 5:39 of the period and mounted a nine-point run to claim a 29-25 advantage at the intermission. Jackson led the Owls with 10 points in the frame.
Following the break, Jackson tacked on a pair of three-pointers to score six of the Owls' first eight points as the squad extended its advantage to 37-29 early in the period. Prairie View A&M refused to go away and rallied to tie the game at 40-40 just before the midway point of the frame. The teams then traded runs up to the game's seventh tie at 53-53 with just 3:43 to play.
From there, the Owls scored eight of the game's next nine points in just over a minute to regain a cushion at 61-54. The Panthers kept fighting and battled back to within a point with 20 seconds to play. The Owls were strong in the closing moments and knocked down 5-of-6 free throws to clinch the win at the line.
On the night, Rice (1-1) shot a solid 48.8 percent from the field, 9-for-17 from downtown and connected on 19-of-28 free throws.
Freshman Bishop Mency came off the bench to tally 11 points for a second-straight game and led the team with six rebounds. He connected on 4-of-8 field goals with a pair of treys in 28 minutes of action. Sophomore Andrew Drone also reached double-figures, tying his career high with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. He added four rebounds and an assist on the night.
Max Guercy battled early foul trouble, but led his team with three of their 11 assists and did not commit a turnover in 25 minutes. Seth Gearhart chipped in eight points on 2-of-2 shooting with a pair of rebounds, a block and an assist.
The Owls forced 14 turnovers and converted them into 13 points on the other end. Prairie View A&M (0-3) owned a narrow 32-31 edge in rebounds. Three players scored 50 of the Panthers' 64 points, led by John Brisco's 20 points off the bench. Montrael Scott added 18 points and Karim York nearly tallied a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The Owls conclude the two-game home stand on Saturday against William & Mary. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
NOTES: Jackson became the first Owl to score 30 points since Tamir Jackson reached the same number against Houston on March 13, 2013 ... redshirt freshman Denzel Davis made his collegiate debut, playing seven minutes off the bench with one rebound ... the win was Rice's first of the season and first under new head coach Mike Rhoades ... it was Rhoades' 198th career win, with the previous 197 coming in his 10 seasons at Randolph-Macon College.