Feb. 8, 2013
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HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men’s basketball hosts SMU in a short one-game homestand on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls (5-17, 1-7) are in the midst of a stretch with three of four games on the road, as the squad battled hard in a 65-53 setback at UTEP on Wednesday.
After falling behind by double figures in the first half, Rice outscored the Miners 32-30 after the intermission. Tamir Jackson scored 10 of his team-leading 12 points in the second half to lead the charge. Julian DeBose added eight points and seven rebounds.
Scouting the Mustangs
Following an 0-2 homestand with both losses coming by single digits, SMU dropped to 2-7 in league play. In fact, six of the Mustangs’ seven conference losses have come by nine or fewer points.
Jalen Jones leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with 14.3 points and 8.3 boards per contest.
Two other starters also average double-figure points, including 14.3 from Nick Russell and 12.0 from Ryan Manuel. Russell adds 4.2 assists per game.
The Mustangs shot 1-of-12 from downtown in Saturday’s 60-52 loss to Memphis but rank in the top half of the league with a season 35.4 percent three-point mark.
In one of Rice’s longest standing rivalries, SMU holds a 118-77 lead through 195 all-time meetings.
Dating back to the 2011 Conference USA Championship, the Owls have won three-straight games against SMU.
Last season, Rice picked up a 68-52 win in Dallas in January before sneaking past the Mustangs in a 43-39 game at home one month later. Jackson led Rice with 12 points and four assists in the home win last year.
Jackson averages 9.6 points and 3.7 assists in seven games against SMU. He also pulls more than two steals per game.
DeBose and Seth Gearhart each faced SMU twice last season, while Dan Peera played against SMU once.
Head of the Class
Freshman Max Guercy leads or ranks near the top of his class in numerous Conference USA statistical categories.
The guard is third among rookies in scoring (9.8 ppg), three-point shooting (41.9 percent) and steals (1.32 spg) and he leads the league in assists by a freshman with 2.55.
Fellow newcomer Ross Wilson ranks fourth among league freshmen in field goal percentage (45.5). Keith Washington stands fifth in steals per game with 1.68.
Rice takes to the road for an eastern swing next week. The Owls play at Marshall on Wednesday and then head south to Birmingham to square off against UAB on Saturday, Feb. 16.