Feb. 5, 2013
EL PASO, Texas - Rice University men’s basketball takes a one-game road trip to face UTEP on Wednesday night. Tipoff from the Don Haskins Center is set for 8 p.m. CT.
The Owls (5-16, 1-6 C-USA) saw a two-game home winning streak snapped on Saturday night as East Carolina used an early second-half spurt to gain a comfortable lead. The Pirates never let up, shooting 15-of-21 in the half to hold off a Rice rally.
Tamir Jackson led the Owls with 19 points on 7-of-24 shooting to accompany nine rebounds. Rice scored 17 second-chance points on 12 offensive rebounds in the 79-63 setback.
Max Guercy dished out five of the team’s 12 assists to cap off a solid week and earn his second-straight Conference USA Freshman of the Week award.
Scouting the Miners (12-8, 5-2)
UTEP is 3-0 in home Conference USA games this season and 10-1 overall on its home court. The Miners bounced back from an overtime loss at UAB to top Tulane, 62-50, on Saturday.
Three players score in double figures for the squad, led by Julian Washburn’s 12.3 points per game. Konner Tucker adds 11.9 and Bohn Bohannon tallies 10.7 points per game.
UTEP is the second most accurate three-point shooting team in the conference at 37.5 percent. The Miners shot 48.9 percent from the field in the win over Tulane, led by Washburn’s 6-of-9 mark for 12 points.
Guercy repeated as Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Feb. 4, marking his third honor of the season.
The first award came on Jan. 7 after he scored 19 points and dished out five assists at Harvard two days earlier. He won the honor three weeks later on Jan. 28 after averaging 6.0 assists on the week at UCF and Tulane.
In those two road games, he averaged 10.5 points per game and dished out 6.0 assists with just two total turnovers for the Owls.
Guercy earned his third weekly award after scoring 21 points in Rice’s win over Houston and then adding nine points and five assists against East Carolina.
UTEP holds a 14-11 lead in 25 all-time meetings. Rice swept the series last season with a 77-75 home win on a Julian DeBose buzzer-beater on Feb. 1, then followed with a 68-61 victory in El Paso later in the month.
The narrow home win came after 26 lead changes and 10 ties. Rice then came from two points down at halftime on the road to rally for the win.
In five career games, Jackson averages 5.4 points per game with 1.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists. DeBose has 3.5 points and 1.0 assists in a pair of meetings with UTEP.
Rice returns home for one game to host Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs on Saturday. The season’s first meeting tips off at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.