HOUSTON, Texas--UT Arlington shot 67.9% in the first half and never looked back, as Rice fell, 92-74, Sunday night at Tudor Fieldhouse.
"They're a really good team," said Rice head coach Mike Rhoades. "They beat some good teams. If we would have had better urgency, it might have been a game for a while. The flow of the game and our lack of intensity; it goes back to our defense. We're not guarding."
Koulechov gave Rice (2-5) an early 3-0 lead. But, UTA scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 10-5 lead. Koulechov hit two free throws but Drew Charles hit a three-pointer. Amir Smith made one-of-two free throws, but a jumper by Eric Neal and Charles' fourth straight three gave the Mavs an 18-8 lead five minutes into the game.
Koulechov made a jumper by UTA (5-1) made back-to-back baskets for a 12-point lead. Koulechov then hit a three, but Nick Pallas made layup to give the Mavs a 24-13 lead with 13:21 to play in the half. Marquez Letcher-Ellis made back-to-back buckets to send Rice on a 9-0 run over the next 4:04, pulling the Owls to within 24-22. However, UT Arlington went on a 15-4 run to take a 39-26 lead with five minutes to play in the half.
Two free throws by Guercy followed by an Evans three got the Owls to within 39-31. But the Mavs scored nine of the next 12 points to take its largest lead of the half, 48-34, with 1:50 to play.
Evans and Guercy got Rice to within 10 points, but a three-pointer by Kevin Hervey sent the Owls into halftime down 51-38.
The teams traded baskets for the first seven minutes of the second half. With UT Arlington up 66-52, Guercy stole the ball from Kennedy Eubanks and found Koulechov for a layup, who was fouled and converted the three-point attempt. A minute and a half later, Evans made a pair from the charity stripe to get Rice to within single digits for the first time since the 3:29 mark of the first half.
Kaelon Wilson made one-of-two from the line to push the lead to 10, but two free throws by Guercy got the deficit to eight. After Hervey made a layup, Andrew Drone made a pair of free throws for a 69-61 deficit with 9:37 to play. However, UTA scored 12 of the next 14 points to put the game away.
Rice shot just 42.1% (24-of-57) from the field and 24.1% (7-of-29) from three. UTA connected on 57.1% (32-of-56) from the floor and 45.5% (10-of-22) from three. The Mavs also outrebounded Rice, 43-to-24.
Rice goes on the road for the first time in two weeks when it travels to Houston Baptist on Dec. 2. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.