Nov. 20, 2013
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Rice University men’s basketball notched a hard-fought road win at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 63-61, on Wednesday night at American Bank Center. It was the third-straight game decided by three or fewer points for the Owls and the team’s first road win of the young season.
Sean Obi notched his first double-double of the year with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and it was the freshman’s final rebound that was the most important as it clinched the game. With the Owls (2-2) leading by two points and just 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock, TAMU-CC’s Jeff Beverly intentionally missed a second free throw to give his teammates a chance to tip in the tying basket.
Obi boxed out Zane Knowles, but Knowles put one hand on Obi to keep him down and tip in the would-be game-winner. The officials called an over-the-back foul and used the replay monitor to confirm the call. The ruling was upheld, awarding Obi a pair of free throws. His second one missed, and the Islanders (3-3) were unable to get off a final attempt before time expired.
The freshman shot 7-of-9 from the field and added an assist and a steal on the night. Three other starters scored in double figures, led by Austin Ramljak’s 14 points on 4-of-9 three-point shooting. Max Guercy added 11 points and five assists while Marcus Jackson knocked down 8-of-9 free throws en route to 10 points. Seth Gearhart chipped in seven points, four rebounds, two assists and both of Rice’s blocked shots.
After a slow start on the offensive end for both teams, Rice threatened to break it open early in the second half. Ramljak heated up, sinking back-to-back three-pointers early in the frame to put the Owls in front, 32-27, and following a Ramljak steal, Obi passed out of a double team on the next possession to an open shooter, then hauled in an offensive rebound and put the ball in to extend the lead to seven points.
Another Obi basket and two other scores gave the Owls a 44-33 advantage midway through the second period. The Islanders then turned up the defensive pressure and took advantage of early Rice foul trouble to tie the game at 50-50 with just over six minutes remaining.
Each shot just under 30 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes leading to a 21-21 draw at the intermission. Both teams then shot over 50 percent after the intermission as Rice ended the night with a 41.7 percent mark from the floor. The Islanders finished the night at 40.4 percent.
Rice won the battle on the boards, 37-31, and converted 10 offensive rebounds into 10 second-chance points. The Owls posted a positive turnover margin and scored 11 points off of six TAMU-CC turnovers.
The Owls return home from the two-game road swing to host Princeton on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.