Feb. 28, 2012
Rice closes out the regular season with two games and the hopes this week of improving on its current seventh-place standing in the Conference USA rankings. The Owls travel to UTEP Wednesday before playing host to Houston Saturday in the final regular-season game of the season.
The winner of Wednesday's game between the Owls and Miners will lockup no worse than the No. 7 seed at next week's Conference USA Tournament.
Both Rice and UTEP head into the week with 7-7 records in league play and Wednesday's winner will avoid playing in a conference tournament first-round game which will pit the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds against one another with the winner advancing to play C-USA's regular season champion.
Earlier this year, Rice defeated the Miners 77-75 on a last-second shot by freshman Julian DeBose.
Tip-off for Wednesday's game between Rice and UTEP is slated for 7:05 p.m. Mountain Time (8:05 Central) in the Don Haskins Center. The game will be broadcast by 1560 The Game (KGOW) with video streamed through Rice All-Access at RiceOwls.com.
Rice, 16-13 overall, is coming off a week in which it rallied from behind to beat UCF 83-74 before losing on a couple final-second free throws at Southern Miss, 58-56.
UTEP, 14-14, put together a four-game winning streak during the month of February which included wins over the top three teams currently in the Conference USA standings. The Miners are 11-4 at home in the Don Haskins Center including their last three games played on campus.
UTEP sophomore guard Michael Perez is averaging 11.7 points while sophomore center John Bohannon comes off the bench to average 11.4 points along with a team-leading 7.3 rebounds.
The Miner's scoring has been well distributed as both senior Gabriel McCulley and freshman Julian Washburn also average better than 11 points an outing.
Junior guard Jacques Streeter ranks third in Conference USA with a 4.6 assist average (128 total).
Heading into the week, UTEP is shooting 47 percent from the field which ranks second in the conference.
Rice freshman point guard Dylan Ennis is coming off a week in which he averaged 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 65 percent from the field and knocking down 63.6 percent of his three-point attempts.
Ennis was named the Conference USA Co-Freshman of the Week on Monday.
For the year Ennis is averaging 8.6 points and 43 rebounds (second-most on the team). He also has 33 steals and 12 blocks. He ranks sixth in C-USA, averaging 3.9 assists per game (112 total) and needs just three more assists to set a new freshman record. The current record of 114 assists set by James Simmons during his rookie year has stood since the 1974-75 season.
75 Percent Off for No. 75
Saturday's game against Houston will mark the 75th in the series with the Cougars.
In honor of the milestone contest, chairback seats for the game have been reduced by 75 percent.