HOUSTON—Rice will play its first game of the 2015-16 campaign when it welcomes the LeTourneau Yellow Jackets to Tudor Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. CT. It will be the lone exhibition game of the year for the Owls.
This is the second straight season that the teams will meet in exhibition play. The Owls won last year’s exhibition meeting, 82-64.
The game marks the beginning of Year Two of the Mike Rhoades era. Rhoades led RIce to a 12-20 record last year, but were 8-10 in Conference USA play. He also led it to its first victory in the Conference USA Tournament since 2011.
Of the 13 players on the Owls’ 2015-16 roster, 10 are either freshmen or sophomores. Of the 10, sophomores Bishop Mency and Nate Pollard are the only players who have seen action at Rice. Redshirt sophomore Egor Koulechov played his freshman year at Arizona State in 2013-14.
Rice returns just five letterwinners from last year’s squad that finished 12-20. However, of those five, four are returning starters. Guard Max Guercy is the lone senior on the team. The Acton, Calif., has started all 93 games that he has played in his career. Last year, he averaged 9.8 points while leading Conference USA in free throw percentage (.864) and dishing out 4.5 assists, good for third in C-USA. Preseason All-Conference USA member Marcus Jackson, who is the team’s leading returning scorer, averaged 14.5 points last year. He also led the league in three-pointers made per game, making 2.7 per game. Mency averaged 7.8 points last season while leading all freshmen and placing 11th in Conference USA with 1.8 three-pointers per game. Forward Andrew Drone led the team with 5.4 rebounds while adding 6.7 points per game.
Located in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau competes in the NCAA Division III American Southwest Conference. The Yellow Jackets return just five letterwinners off of last year’s team that went 5-20, including two starters. LeTourneau welcomes 14 newcomers to the squad, including 10 freshmen.
Sophomore guard Sam Talbert is the team’s leading returning scorer, averaging 9.6 points last year. He was also the only player to start all 25 games. Forward Giovanny Thompson averaged 8.8 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds last year.
Saturday’s game will be free to the public. To order season or single-game tickets, please call 713-348-OWLS (6957) or visit ricetickets.net/mbb.