Men's Basketball Faces Tough Test at UTEP

Max Guercy has dished out 15 assists in the last three games.

Jan. 31, 2014

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EL PASO, Texas - Rice University men's basketball faces a tough road test on Saturday with an 8 p.m. CT contest at UTEP in the Don Haskins Center.

It is the only scheduled regular season meeting between the in-state rivals after the teams took turns sweeping each other each of the past two seasons.

Sean Obi continues to lead Conference USA with 9.5 rebounds per game after hauling in 10 on Thursday night in San Antonio. The freshman ranks third in the league in field goal percentage at 59.9 percent.

Austin Ramljak ranks 15th nationally with 3.3 three-pointers per game. The senior shoots 41.5 percent from downtown and leads the Owls with 12.4 points per game.


Last Time Out
• Rice and UTSA virtually couldn't miss in a high-scoring first half on Thursday night, before the Owls eventually fell, 89-76.
• After regrouping during the intermission, Rice cut UTSA's shooting accuracy from 60 percent down to 37 in the second half, but spent the period playing catch-up from a 51-39 hafltime deficit.
Keith Washington continued his sparkling play off the bench, leading the Owls with a career-high 20 points in the game, including 3-of-5 three-pointers and 7-of-8 free throws. The sophomore also dished out four of the team's 16 assists on the night.
• Obi continued his dominance in the paint with 19 points and 10 rebounds to notch his eighth double-double of the season.
• The Owls shot 48.3 percent from the field and 10-of-28 from downtown, but UTSA shot just as well overall and benefitted from 20 extra free throws and a 37-28 rebound advantage in the game.


Series History
• UTEP responded to a pair of Rice wins in 2012 with a season sweep last season, topping the Owls by a 65-53 margin in El Paso followed by a 67-56 win in Houston roughly a month later.
• In two games against the Miners, Max Guercy averages 11.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and a pair of assists.
• In the last meeting, Tamir Jackson notched 20 points to lead the Owls. Guercy added 11 points, a team-high six rebounds and three assists.
• UTEP owned a 42-26 advantage on the glass, but Rice forced 11 turnovers to help the cause.


Scouting the Miners (15-6, 5-1)
• UTEP dispatched Louisiana Tech on Thursday night, 89-79, with 47 points from Vince Hunter and Julian Washburn and 56.0 percent shooting from the field.
• The Miners connected on 28-of-45 free throws in the win, as well as 5-of-11 three-pointers.
• Despite the loss of leading scorer McKenzie Moore, the Miners have rolled on in C-USA play this season, having won five games in a row and 10 of the last 11.
• Tim Floyd's team is tied with Southern Miss at the top of the Conference USA standings as the only teams with one league loss.
• UTEP is 11-3 at home on the season, with its lone C-USA loss coming against Charlotte in the Don Haskins Center.  

Rice returns home to host league newcomer North Texas on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.





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