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HOUSTON -- Rice returns home for the first time in two weeks when it opens its conference homestand against WKU. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised by ASN. The game will also be shown on Owl Vision.
Bowling Green, Ky.
Gearhart's Career High 31 Points Carry Owls Past WKU
Seth Gearhart scored a career-high 31 points as Rice University men's basketball fought off a tenacious rally from first-place WKU to claim a 72-68 win at E.A. Diddle Arena. The senior connected on 9-of-13 field goals and all 10 free throws and scored the Owls' final eight points in the victory.
Rice and WKU will meet for the second straight year and just the third time overall.
The series is tied at one with both teams winning on the other home floor.
This will be the first time that the Hilltoppers visit Tudor Fieldhouse as a member of Conference USA. WKU won the only other game in Houston, 76-63, in 1980.
Rice enters today's game with a 5-11 record and is 0-3 in Conference USA. The Owls are looking to snap a five-game losing streak after falling at North Texas, 85-74, last Saturday.
Freshman Marcus Evans leads Conference USA in scoring, averaging 19.9 points per game. He is second in steals (1.9) and fifth in minutes played (32.9). Evans is also second on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game.
Redshirt sophomore Egor Koulechov is fourth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.8 points while leading the team with 7.0 rebounds, which is tied for ninth in the league. He is second in free throw percentage (.857) and minutes played (34.1) and is third in three-pointers made (2.7).
Freshman Marquez Letcher-Ellis is third on the team with 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. He is fourth in C-USA with 1.3 blocks.
Senior Max Guercy is averaging 8.2 points. He leads the league in free throw percentage (.887) and is third in assists (5.3).
Rice is averaging 74.1 points per game while allowing 79.5.
The Owls are connecting on 42.9% from the field and 30.8% from the three-point line while allowing 48.0% from the field and 41.2% from beyond the arc.
Rice leads Conference USA in free throw percentage, connecting on 72.8%.
WKU enters the game with a 9-7 record. The Hilltoppers are 1-2 in Conference USA after defeating Florida Atlantic in overtime, 86-82, last Saturday.
Sophomore forward Justin Johnson leads WKU with 17.6 points per game, which is sixth in C-USA. He leads in the league in field goal percentage (.669) and is sixth in rebounding (8.1).
Senior guard Aaron Cosby is second on the team in with 11.1 points and is fifth in the conference with 2.3 three-pointers made per game.
Junior guard Chris Harrison-Docks is averaging 10.2 points and is eighth in Conference USA with 2.1 three-pointers made per game.
Senior forward Nigel Snipes and junior guard Frederick Edmond are both scoring 10.1 points per game. Snipes is tied for third in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.426) and Edmond is fourth in field goal percentage (.609).
Junior forward Ben Lawson is third in the league in blocks per game (3.0) and freshman guard Chris McNeal is fifth in assists (4.7).
WKU is averaging 78.4 points per game while allowing 77.2.
The Hilltoppers are connecting on 47.7% from the field and 36.6% from the three-point line, which are third and second in Conference USA, respectively. WKU is allowing 44.2% from the floor and 38.9% from three.
WKU is outrebounding its opponents, 38.9-to-35.0 and is second in the league in blocks (5.4).
Ray Harper is in his fifth season at the helm of the WKU basketball program, where he has an 80-55 (.593) record. In 17 seasons as a head coach, he is 422-118 (.781).
Rice closes its homestand this Saturday, Jan. 16, when it hosts Marshall. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and will be televised by ASN.