Dec. 19, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – It took most of a half for the Owls to shake off the rust from a 12-day break for final exams, but Rice University men’s basketball regrouped to come back and claim a 69-56 win over visiting Northwood in front 4,924 fans at Tudor Fieldhouse on Thursday.
Rice shot just 29.9 percent on the day and even lower in the opening 20 minutes as Northwood (2-5) worked up to a 10-point advantage. A 14-0 run beginning just before the first-half buzzer marked the decisive turning point in the game and put the Owls ahead for good.
Rice (5-5) worked up to a 16-point lead before the midway point in the second half and never let the Knights any closer than eight points down the stretch.
Austin Ramljak sank all four of his three-pointers in the second half as he led the Owls with 14 points on the afternoon. He added three rebounds, two steals and an assist in 30 minutes.
Keith Washington returned to the starting lineup and tallied double-figure points for the fifth game in a row as he matched Ramljak’s 14. The sophomore shot 4-of-12 from the field with 5-of-7 free throws and four of the Owls’ 14 assists. He hauled in four rebounds as well.
The Owls scored 18 points in the paint, paced by 11 points from Sean Obi and a season-high 10 from Andrew Drone. Obi notched his second-straight double-double with 11 rebounds as well. He did most of his damage at the foul line, where he sank 7-of-10 free throws, and added two steals and a block.
Drone knocked down each of his first four shots and made both of his free throws to accompany three rebounds in just 12 minutes off the bench.
The Owls hauled in a season-high 52 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive end that turned into seven second-chance points. Max Guercy continued his strong rebounding with eight boards to accompany nine points.
Northwood shot 31.7 percent from the field, led by 16 points from B.J. Dale. Jerrick Massernburge added 10 points of his own for the visitors. The Knights grabbed 38 rebounds but swatted seven blocks in the game.
Rice returns to action on Saturday with a 3:30 p.m. meeting with Houston at the Toyota Center. The game is the first half of a double-header in the Dickies Shootout, as Oklahoma and Texas A&M play that evening.
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