Nov. 23, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Local product Austin Ramljak drained six three-pointers for a career-best 18 points, but Rice University men’s basketball was unable to overcome Georgia Tech’s rebounding prowess in a 54-36 setback in the opening round of the DirecTV Classic on Thanksgiving night at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Ramljak matched his previous season high of six points on a pair of treys in the first half and added four more in the second to pace the Owls’ (1-3) offense. The Thousand Oaks, Calif. native shot 6-of-12 off the bench. He added four rebounds and a block in 29 minutes of action.
Rice allowed a season-low 54 points, but the Yellow Jackets’ (3-0) 50-26 advantage on the glass helped the ACC squad overcome 38.9 percent shooting and 14 turnovers to open a comfortable second-half lead and eventually claim the win in the first meeting between the teams since 1973.
Georgia Tech claimed an 11-0 lead before Rice connected on its first basket. Rice then furiously climbed back into the game with a 16-2 run, including a Tamir Jackson three-pointer to tie and another from Ramljak to take a 16-13 lead.
Rice claimed a lead as large as four points in the first half at 19-15 before the Yellow Jackets responded to take a 27-19 lead into the intermission. Rice pulled within seven points early in the second half before Georgia Tech pulled away to hold a double-figure advantage for good.
Jackson scored nine points and hauled in five rebounds, while fellow guard Keith Washington led the Owls on the boards with six rebounds. Washington added six points and swiped three of Rice’s five steals.
After playing four minutes in the season’s first three games, sophomore guard Dan Peera gave Rice nine solid minutes in the contest. He dished out two assists on the night.
Passing was a bright spot for Rice, as the team converted nine assists on 11 field goals on the night. The Owls also forced 14 turnovers while converting just 12. Rice shot 22.9 percent (11-48) from the field and sank a season-high nine three-pointers on 30 attempts.
Marcus Georges-Hunt led Georgia Tech with 11 points and nine rebounds on the night, while Mfon Udofia added nine points. The Ramblin’ Wreck converted just 3-of-18 three-pointers as Rice has held its last two opponents to 15.9 percent three-point shooting (7-44).
Rice’s 36 points were the program’s fewest since Jan. 6, 2007, when the Owls fell 51-28 at Princeton.
The Owls return to the court on Friday to face the loser of Thursday’s Cal/Drake matchup at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
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