HOUSTON, Texas--Rice placed six players in double-figures on its way to picking up its first win of the season, 92-84 over Lamar, Wednesday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The 92 points are the most scored since scoring 96 against South Alabama in 2013.
"(The game) was up and down," said head coach Mike Rhoades. "There were a lot of shots and a lot of rebounds; lots of free throws and lots of fouls. But, I'm just really proud of our guys for fighting through. We got off to a good start. But, the second half they bombed in some threes and got right back into it and made it a dogfight."
Marcus Evans led the Owls with 20 points, his second straight 20-point game. Connor Cashaw set season-highs of 16 points and six rebounds. Egor Koulechov scored 15 points. Max Guercy added 15 points, including a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line, and seven assists and Andrew Drone and Marquez Letcher-Ellis had 12 points apiece.
Rice led, 49-40, at halftime. Preston Mattingly made one of two free throws before Guercy pushed the lead to 11 points with a three-pointer. However, Lamar hit four consecutive three-pointers to take a 53-52 lead just 2:07 into the second half, its first lead since 2-0.
The teams traded leads over the next minute and a half, then spent the following two and a half minutes with Rice taking the lead only to have the Cardinals tie it up.
With the game tied at 62, Guercy and Evans hit a pair of free throws to give the Owls a 66-62 lead. After Kevin Booze hit a pair of free throws, Cashaw drove in for a layup. Lincoln Davis made a layup for Lamar, but Letcher-Ellis made two free throws to give Rice a 70-66 lead. However, Nick Garth was fouled on a three-pointer and converted the four-point play to tie the game at 70 with nine minutes to play.
Rice regained the lead on a Cashaw jumper. After Garth missed a three, Guercy found Drone for a layup. Garth missed another three and Guercy made a pair of free throws to give Rice a 76-70 lead with 7:15 remaining.
The teams traded points over the next three minute before going scoreless for a minute and a half. Cashaw made two free throws and after a steal by Drone, Evans drove in for a layup and an 86-76 Rice lead.
A three-pointer by Dontavious Sears pulled the Cardinals to within seven points. Guercy made two free throws and Mattingly made one of two to get Lamar to within 88-80 with 1:29 to play. But, Koulechov drilled a three with 43 second left to seal the victory.
Added Rhoades, "I thought our guys really responded. We had six guys in double-figures. They did a good job of making plays at the basket and we made our free throws. I was really proud of our guys the last four or five minutes of the game. We really did a good job of sticking to the game plan. I thought our guys were really coachable today. We took a step forward in the right direction."
Dorian Chatman started the game for Lamar with a basket, but Rice went on a 13-2 run. Chatman made two free throws, but a three-pointer from Cashaw sent the Owls on an 8-0 run and its largest lead of the game at 21-6.
After trading baskets, Sears hit a jumper, then stole the ball from Guercy and found Boaz Williams for a dunk. Evans hit two free throws to push the lead to 25-12. However, Lamar went on an 11-2 run to get to within 27-23 with 8:14 to play in the half.
Evans scored five straight points before Mattingly made a jumper. Rice then scored eight of the next 10 points to take a 40-27 lead with five minutes left. Lamar would get no closer than nine points the rest of the half.
Rice shot 51.8% (29-of-56) from the field, but was just 6-of-19 (31.6%) from three. The Owls also shot 82.4% (28-of-34) from the free throw line. Lamar was just 27-of-65 (41.5%) from the floor and 9-of-25 (36.0%) from three.
Rice hosts UC Riverside this Friday, Nov. 27. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.