Nov. 30, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara took its first lead of the night with 6.9 seconds remaining, but Keith Washington drove the length of the court for a layup to lift Rice University men's basketball past the Cable Car Classic hosts for a 67-66 win at the Leavey Center on Saturday night. The Owls claimed third place at the tournament.
Seth Gearhart averaged 17.5 points in the two games with eight three-pointers to earn a place on the all-tournament team. Washington won the Kevin O'Connor Award, presented to the tournament's most inspirational player for his game-winning basket.
Rice led by as many as 12 points late in the first half and early into the second before the Broncos chipped away within four points midway through the second half. The Owls (3-4) kept finding ways to get to the foul line to stay ahead by a narrow margin into the final minute.
The Owls clung to a one-point lead with 10 seconds left before the Broncos (2-4) forced a turnover on an inbounds pass and drove into the paint for a layup and the home team's first advantage of the night at 66-65 with 6.9 seconds on the clock.
From there, the sophomore took over and drove the length of the court for a right-handed layup with 0.3 seconds on the clock to regain the advantage. Bahrom Firozgary tipped the ensuing inbounds pass to run off the remainder of the clock and deny Santa Clara one last attempt to win.
Washington finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the game with two assists and a rebound off the bench. Reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Week Sean Obi led Rice with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds on the night. He added an assist and a block in 23 minutes.
Gearhart followed up Friday night's 20-point performance with 15 points on 9-of-10 free throw shooting and six rebounds. Max Guercy also scored in double figures with 11 points to accompany four assists and three rebounds. Marcus Jackson dished out seven of the Owls' 16 assists.
Rice continued its hot-shooting ways in the first half, connecting on 17-of-25 field goals and 5-of-9 three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes en route to a 39-29 lead at the intermission. Obi knocked down all six of his shots in the first frame to pace the Owls.
On the night, Rice shot 51.2 percent from the field and 6-of-15 from downtown. The Owls knocked down 17-of-24 free throws to overcome a 36-27 rebounding deficit.
Santa Clara's Evan Roquemore led the Broncos with 17 points and four assists as the home team shot 40.7 percent from the field and 6-of-21 from beyond the arc.
The Owls return to Houston to close out the current road trip at Houston Baptist on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at HBU's Sharp Gym.
NOTES: Ross Wilson missed both tournament games with a minor persistent injury ... Nizar Kapic did not play on Saturday after exiting Friday's game with an injury ... five of Rice's seven games this season have been decided by four or fewer points, including Friday night's 97-93 overtime setback to Rider in the tournament opener ... North Dakota State won the Cable Car Classic with an 87-70 win over Rider on Saturday night.