Feb. 14, 2014
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RUSTON, La. - Rice University men’s basketball opens a three-game road trip on Saturday at Louisiana Tech. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Owls did not play on Thursday following a two-game home stand and will not return to Tudor Fieldhouse until Feb. 27 against UAB. Saturday’s game is the first of two regular season meetings between Rice and LA Tech.
Rice overcame a slow shooting start to challenge Tulsa, but eventually fell, 66-56, at home last Saturday. Max Guercy put together a complete game with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Sean Obi narrowly missed his 10th double-double of the season with nine points and 12 rebounds.
The Owls led in the early going before Tulsa put together a big run (spanning halftime) to take the lead for good. The Owls pulled back within four points on several occasions but couldn’t close the gap any further.
Austin Ramljak’s next three-pointer will match his total of 72 from last season, tying him for sixth on Rice’s single season list. Should that next trey come on Saturday at LA Tech, he will move past Shawn Tyndell (2000-01) to take sole possession of second place in Rice’s longest streaks of consecutive games with a three-pointer. Only Adam Peakes has more, as he knocked down a long-ball in 39 straight games in 1993-94.
Series History (LA Tech leads, 7-5)
• The new Conference USA rivals have met 12 times, spanning from 1974 to 2005, including four seasons as WAC foes.
• The Bulldogs won each of the first six meetings, but Rice has claimed five of the last six.
• In the last meeting, on March 3, 2005, Jason McKrieth scored a season-high 24 points and Morris Almond contributed 18 off the bench as the Owls defeated Louisiana Tech 78-64 in Ruston.
• Michael Harris tallied his 19th double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds and Brock Gillespie added 10 points. Rice shot 50 percent from the field and made 18-21 from the free throw line (.857). The Owls also had a season-high 14 steals as five players had two steals apiece.
Scouting the Bulldogs (20-5, 8-2 C-USA)
• Head coach Michael White’s team has won three-straight games and five of its last six. The squad is 11-1 at home and 6-0 in Conference USA home games.
• Louisiana Tech leads C-USA with 84.2 points per game, those just three players average double-figure points on the season.
• The Bulldogs rank second in the league in both field goal percentage (46.5) and field goal percentage defense (40.6).
• In its last outing, LA Tech knocked off North Texas, 90-75, behind 17 points and 10 assists from Kenneth Smith. Kenyon McNeail added 18 points off the bench and three others scored in double figures in the home win.
The road continues for the Owls next week with games at Old Dominion (Feb. 20) and East Carolina (Feb. 22).