Dec. 4, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - Austin Ramljak sank seven three-pointers but Rice University men's basketball was unable to answer a late run by Houston Baptist in a 73-71 setback at Sharp Gym on Wednesday night. The senior led the Owls with 23 points on the night.
Ramljak matched his career-high from downtown and came just two points shy of his career scoring high, set just two games ago against Rider. He added one rebound and a steal.
Keith Washington tallied a career-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the game as the teams exchanged the lead six times and tied each other on six occasions in the second half. Washington shot 7-of-11 from the field and added three rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench.
Rice (3-5) came from behind to take its first lead of the night at 39-38 and never led by more than two points in the contest. Once the Owls tied again at 54-54, HBU scored the game's next seven points and would not let the Owls any closer than four in the final minutes. The Huskies (3-5) sank 18-of-23 free throws in the second half to maintain the late advantage.
Happy to return home for just the second time this season, the Huskies shot well early on, sinking eight of the team's first nine shots in route to a 50 percent mark from the field in the opening 20 minutes. HBU led by as a many as 10 points in the early going before the Owls chipped away to pull within 32-29 at the intermission behind a trio of three-pointers by Ramljak.
Rice shot 44.9 percent from the field and connected on 10-of-25 three-pointers on the night. The Owls knocked down 17-of-24 free throws as well. The Huskies (3-5) connected on 48.1 percent of their shots and 4-of-10 three-pointers.
Sean Obi also reached double figures with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 5-of-7 free throws. The freshman added six rebounds, a block and a steal on the night.
Seth Gearhart led the Owls with seven of the team's 27 rebounds and matched a career high with three of Rice's five blocked shots. The junior added four points and two assists. Max Guercy passed out five of Rice's 10 assists on the evening.
HBU's Rob Lewis and Marcel Smith tied for the team lead at 16 points apiece. Two others scored in double figures for the Huskies, as the squad remained perfect at home on the season.
Rice returns home to host South Alabama at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse.
NOTES: Six of Rice's eight games this season have now been decided by four or fewer points ... Ramljak's seven three-pointers were one shy of the program's single-game record, set by Bobby Crawford against Tulsa on Feb. 6, 1997 ... Ramljak's 3.63 three-pointers per game rank second in Conference USA ... Wednesday marked the first time this season that a player other than Obi led the team in rebounding ... Rice is now 7-1 in eight all-time meetings with Houston Baptist.
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