Dec. 15, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas – A few late plays broke open a tightly-contested game as Hartford gained enough momentum in the waning minute to top Rice University men’s basketball, 58-51, on Saturday night at Tudor Fieldhouse. Tamir Jackson led the Owls with 18 points and seven rebounds.
After 13 lead changes and five ties, the Hawks (6-5) used a 12-point run to take the lead for good late in the second half. Hartford shook off its 37.9 percent shooting in the first half to sink 4-of-6 field goals and 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to open a nine-point advantage late, after never leading by more than three points in the game’s first 37 minutes. In fact, neither team led by more than four points for a stretch longer than 19 minutes beginning late in the first.
After scoring a career-high 18 points in his last outing, Julian DeBose maintained his hot shooting touch, sinking 4-of-6 first-half attempts for nine points in the opening 20 minutes. The sophomore finished his well-rounded effort with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Rice jumped out to a 20-9 lead behind solid early scoring from DeBose. From there, Hartford used a 15-2 run to retake a brief advantage. Seth Gearhart then scored four of the Owls’ final five points of the period, leading to a 27-27 tie at the intermission.
Gearhart tallied a career-high seven rebounds and three assists to accompany four points and a pair of steals. Austin Ramljak added six of Rice’s eight bench points with a pair of three-pointers on four attempts.
The Owls (2-7) shot 37.5 percent from the field and made 6-of-18 three-pointers. The squad dished out 11 assists on 18 made baskets, swiped eight steals and forced 15 total turnovers.
Hartford claimed a 36-28 advantage in rebounds but scored just five second-chance points from eight offensive rebounds. Rice locked down on the defensive glass in the second half, grabbing 12 of the Hawks’ 13 missed shots.
Texas natives Mark Nwakamma (Leander) and Yolonzo Moore II (Austin) scored 13 points each to lead the visitors. Houston native Evan Cooper chipped in nine points and seven rebounds as well for the Hawks.
In addition to his game-high 18 points for the Owls, Jackson shot 7-of-19 from the field and added two assists and a pair of steals. The senior moved into 15th place on Rice’s career scoring list at 1,286 points, and took sole possession of sixth place on the program’s steals list (135).
Max Guercy scored six points and hauled in three rebounds for Rice, while Keith Washington added two points and one assist.
Rice’s December homestand rolls on as Chicago State visits Tudor Fieldhouse on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.