MIAMI, Fla. - Fresh off of consecutive double-overtime home wins and three-straight overall, Rice University men's basketball takes to the road for a pair of games in south Florida, beginning with a Thursday 7 p.m. CT tilt against FIU. The contest will be broadcast on American Sports Network and streamed live on the network's website.
Senior Seth Gearhart lifted the Owls to an 82-73 win in the 50-minute contest against UAB on Saturday. The forward shot 8-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown in 48 minutes of action. He added 10 rebounds to notch his second-career double-double in the game as well. Max Guercy added his first double-double with 21 points and 10 assists in the win.
For his 21.0 points and 7.5 rebounds on the week, Gearhart earned his first Conference USA Player of the Week honor. He is the fourth Rice player to win the award and the first since 2012.
On Thursday, Marcus Jackson carried the scoring load for the Owls as he tallied 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting with three treys. The Owls led virtually all of regulation before Middle Tennessee tied the game in the waning seconds to force an extra frame. The Blue Raiders then scored at the buzzer to force five more minutes of play. Rice then took the lead for good and scored the game's final points at the foul line.
The Owls make their first trip to the Sunshine State in over two years as the team begins a two-game road swing. The teams met for the first time last season, a 71-60 setback.
That contest featured 16 lead changes and just 12 total turnovers between the squads. Austin Ramljak led the Owls with 14 points, including three treys. Andrew Drone came off the bench for nine points and five rebounds. Gearhart added eight points while Guercy tallied five points and five assists.
Scouting the Panthers (12-13, 5-7 C-USA)
FIU split a road swing last weekend with a two-point overtime win at Southern Miss and 75-43 setback at Louisiana Tech to move to 5-7 in C-USA play.
Dennis Mavin ranks second in the league with 17.4 points per game on 44 percent shooting. Adrian Diaz leads the conference in field goal percentage with a 62.9 clip. He averages 13.1 points per game. Those two players combine for 49 percent of the team's scoring.
The Panthers are 5-3 at home on the season, 2-3 in league action.
Noting the Owls
Rice extended its winning streak to three-straight Conference USA victories. It is the longest streak in league play since the 2006-07 season.
The Owls have knocked down 120 three-pointers in 12 Conference USA games. The team's 8.9 three-pointers per game rank 14th in NCAA Division I.
Rice's 73.2 free throw percentage ranks second in C-USA and 41st nationally.
Through 12 C-USA games, Marcus Jackson ranks sixth in the league with 16.3 points per game on 43.5 percent three-point shooting, which also ranks sixth. His 3.3 treys per contest in league action lead C-USA.
Guercy ranks third in C-USA in league games with a 5.1 assist average. His 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fifth.
Gearhart is the only player to record two 30-point games against C-USA opponents, with 31 at WKU and 32 against UAB. In those games, Gearhart scored 63 points on 24 shots.
Following Thursday's game, Rice takes on C-USA's other Owls with a visit to Florida Atlantic on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT in Boca Raton.