BOCA RATON, Fla. - Rice University men's basketball looks to shake off Thursday night's setback at FIU as the team moves along to the second half of its road trip on Saturday when the team faces Florida Atlantic in a 6 p.m. contest at FAU Arena.
Rice (9-16, 6-7) rallied back from 10 points down late in the second half to claim a four-point lead at FIU, but the Panthers sank a pair of clutch three-pointers in the final two minutes to regain an advantage and hold off the Owls, 60-56.
Seth Gearhart notched a second-straight double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds to pace the visitors. The 11 boards matched a career high for the senior. Marcus Jackson added double-figure points, scoring all 10 in the first half.
With nine more three-pointers on Thursday night, Rice increased its total to 222 treys on the season. The Owls need just 16 more threes to break the program record for a third-straight season.
Rice is 3-2 in its last five Saturday games, led by Gearhart's 23.4 points in those contests. The senior has scored 31.5 points in the last two Saturday games to lead the Owls to a pair of wins.
Scouting the Other Owls (8-16, 1-12 C-USA)
Florida Atlantic fell, 79-72, at home against North Texas on Thursday night despite 21 points from Marquan Botley.
That setback was the eighth-straight for the Owls, who are 6-5 at home on the season but 1-5 in league action.
Botley's 13.7 points per game lead the squad while two others also tally double figures.
FAU leads C-USA in three-point field goal defense, holding opponents to just a 26.7 percent mark from downtown. However, the team ranks last in the league with just 4.33 steals per game.
Rice Rally Falls Just Short Against Florida Atlantic
In yet another tight game, visiting Florida Atlantic outlasted Rice University men's basketball, 73-68, at Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday evening. The home team fought back from 10 points down in the waning moments but was unable to get over the hump in the end.
FAU claimed the first meeting between the two sets of Owls, 73-68, last season in Houston. Gearhart and Max Guercy scored nine points each while Andrew Drone added seven.
Trailing by 10 points with just over six minutes to play, Rice cut the deficit to just one point on three occasions down the stretch. FAU knocked down 6-of-7 free throws in the final minute to secure its first Conference USA win.
Rice returns to Houston next week for its final two home games of the season, beginning on Thursday against Old Dominion. The team closes out its home slate on Saturday against Charlotte. Both games are set for 7 p.m. tipoffs.