Men's Basketball Opens 2012-13 Season on Saturday
Owls Welcome St. Thomas for a 7 p.m. Contest
Nov. 8, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball opens the 2012-13 campaign against cross-town rival St. Thomas on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Owls are coming off a 19-win season that saw the program advance to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament quarterfinal round and match the best Conference USA mark since joining the league in 2005-06.
Top returning scorer Tamir Jackson has the ability to carry the Rice offense when necessary, as he has already racked up more than 1,000-career points in three seasons.
Jackson averaged 10.5 points per game last season and is one of the top returning assist men in Conference USA, as the senior dished out 2.9 assists per game last season.
Sophomore Julian DeBose is also primed to take on a greater role with the team after working his way into the starting lineup late in 2011-12.
DeBose showed his talent in the CIT by nearly doubling his regular season scoring output in the three games (6.7 ppg).
Six newcomers are set to make their Blue and Gray debuts this season, as juniors Austin Ramljak and Bahrom Firozgary are joined by a rookie class that includes guards Max Guercy and Keith Washington as well as forwards Nizar Kapic and Ross Wilson.
Saturday's contest opens a two-game homestand for the Owls and is the first of eight non-conference games in Tudor Fieldhouse this season. Rice concludes its two-game homestand on Wednesday with a visit from St. Edward's.
Tudor Fieldhouse Promotions
The Roost has moved from its previous location and is now located on the Upper Concourse in the Northeast Corner of Tudor Fieldhouse. Fans can enjoy beer and wine from their seats without missing a moment of the action.
Rice Owls fans can pick up both the men's and women's basketball posters at Fan Central located in the main lobby of Tudor. Hang up the posters side by side to create the Rice Basketball 'Together' Poster.
One lucky student will be randomly chosen to shoot a half-court shot at halftime for a chance to win $10,000!
Rice owns a 2-0 advantage in the cross-town series against St. Thomas, with both games coming in the past two seasons.
Rice opened its 2010-11 campaign with a 63-51 win over the Celts on Nov. 12. Despite sinking just 2-of-24 three-pointers and shooting 34.7 percent from the field, the Owls rode a 50-28 advantage on the boards to the victory.
Rice senior Trey Stanton came off the bench to lead the home team with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the triumph. The Friendswood native set career highs in points, field goals (5) and free throws (7) in the contest.
Rice then downed the Celts, 81-67, on Dec. 3, 2011 last season. Five Owls scored in double figures in the contest, as Rice connected on 52.8 percent of its shots from the field.
In two career games against UST, Jackson averages 9.0 points and has connected on 4-of-10 three-pointers.
Scouting the Celts (1-0)
Led by former Rice assistant Todd Smith, St. Thomas opened its season on Tuesday with a resounding 91-49 win over Northwood.
The Celts shot 53 percent from the field and connected on 8-of-18 three-pointers. Forward Caleb Williams notched 14 points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Travis Lampley added 11 points and nine assists.
Deric Dudley led the barrage from outside the perimter, sinking 4-of-5 treys for a team-high 16 points. The Celts held Northwood to just 29.6 percent shooting and a 53-28 rebounding deficit.
Coach Smith served as an assistant at Rice from 1996-2007 before taking the reins at St. Thomas prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.