DENTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball returns to Conference USA action on Saturday as the Owls travel to North Texas for a 7 p.m. contest, televised on American Sports Network.
The Owls fell to the Mean Green by a narrow 66-63 margin at home earlier this month. It was the eighth-straight meeting between the teams to be decided by five or fewer points. Rice will look to duplicate its success on the glass from that meeting. The Owls knocked down 12 three-pointers in that contest as well, including a halftime buzzer-beater from well beyond half court by Marcus Jackson. The sophomore led the team with 22 points in the contest to accompany six rebounds and five assists without a turnover.
Jackson and Seth Gearhart combined for 33 of Rice's points in the last meeting with NT, and rank as the sixth-highest scoring teammates in the league, at 28.2 points per game. Both players rank in C-USA's top 15 in scoring.
Saturday's game marks a homecoming for freshman Jordan Reed. The rookie hails from nearby Lucas, Texas - less than 50 miles away. The guard has seen limited time since C-USA play began, with his last action coming against North Texas.
Rice leads C-USA in both free throw shooting and three-pointers made per game. The Owls rank 22nd nationally with 8.6 treys per contest, while the team's 73.2 percent foul shot accuracy is good for 37th in NCAA Division I.
North Texas paces the league in opponent field goal percentage, holding teams to just a 39.9 percent mark from the field. That tally is good for 62nd nationally. The Mean Green also pesters the opposition with 7.5 steals per game, which ranks 59th in the country and second in C-USA.
Scouting the Mean Green (8-1, 2-5 C-USA)
• In its last outing, North Texas fell in overtime, 75-71, against Southern Miss last Saturday.
• Jeremy Combs tallied 17 points and nine rebounds in the game, while Jordan Williams tallied a team-high 19 points.
• Williams leads the team with 15.6 points per game, good for eighth in Conference USA.
• The Mean Green is 7-5 at home, but just 1-3 in league play. The win came against LA Tech, which is otherwise perfect in eight C-USA games. NT is 2-7 over its last nine games, with the other win coming at Rice earlier this month.
Up Next for the Owls
Rice continues its four-game road swing with games at Marshall and Western Kentucky next week. The Owls face the Thundering Herd on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. CT in Huntington, W.Va. Rice's next home game is Feb. 12 against Middle Tennessee.
Comeback Falls Just Short Against Hot-Shooting Mean Green
Rice University men's basketball cut a double-figure deficit to just three points with possession of the ball in the waning seconds of regulation, but the Owls were unable to put up a tying shot attempt in a 66-63 setback to North Texas on Saturday afternoon at Tudor Fieldhouse.