Feb. 5, 2014
HOUSTON, Texas – Rice University men’s basketball returns home for a pair of games this week, beginning with a visit from Conference USA newcomer North Texas on Thursday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (6-15, 1-7 C-USA) hope to make it two home wins in a row after topping Charlotte in their last game on campus.
In its last game, Rice led for nearly all of the first 34 minutes of Saturday’s game at UTEP before the Miners took their first lead of the night at 51-49.
The Owls fought valiantly throughout, but the strong Miner run was too much to overcome in the eventual 68-57 setback.
Marcus Jackson scored a season-high 14 points to pace the Owls, including four of the squad’s 11 three-pointers on the night. Sean Obi racked up 13 of Rice’s 34 rebounds on the night and both of the team’s blocks.
• In just his first season, Obi has made his mark, not just for the Owls and Conference USA, but on the national level. Obi ranks second among all NCAA Division I freshmen in rebounds (9.7) and third in double-doubles (8).
• He falls just shy of the 5.0 field goals made per game mark to qualify for field goal percentage in the NCAA rankings, but would also rank second in that category as well, at 60.0 percent on 4.7 field goals per game. In late January, Obi was recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 freshmen by ESPN.com.
• He leads C-USA in rebounding by 0.5 rebounds per game and ranks second in the league in field goal percentage.
Owls Edged by UNT, 68-65
North Texas used a full-court press in the final minutes and scored 11 of the game's final 15 points and in a contest typical of the series, beat Rice 68-65 Tuesday at The Super Pit.
• The new conference rivals have faced off 10 times from 1937 to 2010, with the Mean Green coming away with eight wins.
• Rice and NT have played three times since 2006, but the Owls’ last win came in 1995, 58-56.
• In five meetings over the last 20 years, each game has been decided by one possession, including four two-point games and the Nov. 23, 2010 game, which NT claimed by a 68-65 margin.
• Tamir Jackson led the Owls with 15 points in the last meeting, but a 26-8 discrepency in free throws held Rice back.
• NT’s Tristan Thompson tallied 26 points in the game.
Scouting the Mean Green (11-10, 2-5 C-USA)
• Head coach Tony Benford’s team has dropped two-straight games, including last Saturday’s 94-63 setback at Tulsa.
• The squad is 1-2 away from home in Conference USA play, with a win at Marshall.
• NT also claimed a 61-41 victory at Texas A&M earlier this season, with a 3-4 overall mark in road games.
• Jordan Williams leads the team with 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Maurice Aniefiok is one of the league’s top shooters at 44.1 percent from downtown.
• As a team, North Texas shoots 43.0 percent from the field on the season, but that mark has risen to 44.4 percent in C-USA action.
Up Next: Rice closes out the homestand with a Saturday game against Tulsa. The contest tips off at 3 p.m. and will be televised on CSS and locally on CSN Houston.