Rice Faces Season's First Road Test
Owls Challenge Temple on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT
Nov. 16, 2012
Rice Rally Falls Short Against Temple
Despite a late, first-half rally which allowed Rice to get back in the game then an early, second-half surge which gave the Blue and Gray a short-lived lead, Temple was able to regain its advantage and claim a 77-70 road win in Tudor Fieldhouse Monday.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Rice University men's basketball faces its first road test of the season as the Owls travel northeast to challenge Temple University in Philadelphia. The game serves as the home opener for Temple and tips off at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday.
Rice enters the contest after downing St. Edward's, 75-63, on Wednesday behind 10 points and 15 rebounds from Tamir Jackson. The outing marked the first double-double of the senior's career as he nearly doubled his previous top rebounding mark.
Jackson was joined by four teammates with double-figure points, led by freshman Max Guercy. The point guard totaled 17 points on just five field goal attempts (and 8-8 free throws) to increase his season scoring average to a team-high 14.5.
Despite the 12-point final margin, the Owls trailed early on before executing a decisive 24-2 run spanning both halves to take the lead for good.
Following Saturday's game, Rice switches coasts as the team heads to Anaheim for the DirecTV Classic. The tournament's first game is on Thursday against Georgia Tech.
Temple holds a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series following a 77-70 win at Tudor Fieldhouse last December.
The first meeting between the two sets of Owls was on Dec. 29, 1948, when Temple claimed a 70-59 victory in Philadelphia.
In last season's meeting senior Lucas Kuipers paced the home team with 16 points and seven rebounds. He added two blocks in the game, which was a close battle throughout.
Rice overcame a four-point halftime deficit to take a three-point lead early in the second frame. Temple then responded with an 18-5 run to take the lead for good. Juan Fernandez led the visiting Owls with 23 points as TU shot 45.9 percent from the field in the game.
Rice sank 41.7 percent of its attempts, but only 3-of-18 three-pointers. Jackson recorded 11 points and seven assists in last year's meeting.
Scouting the Temple Owls (1-0)
Temple dispatched Kent State, 80-66, in its season opener on the road on Tuesday. The Owls were led by 31 points from Scootie Randall, who connected on 10-of-19 shots and five three-pointers. Randall missed the entire 2011-12 season while recovering from an injury.
Temple shot 52.9 percent from the field and dished out 18 assists on 27 made baskets. Anthony Lee claimed eight of the team's 30 rebounds to accompany 16 points on 6-of-8 field goals.
The Owls posted a 24-8 record last season and won the Atlantic 10 regular season title. In his seventh season at the helm, head coach Fran Dunphy has posted a 135-5 record. He is 2-1 all-time coaching against Rice.
Saturday’s game marks a homecoming for a pair of Rice players from the northeast, as freshman Keith Washington is a Philadelphia native and Jackson is from less than 100 miles away (Paterson, N.J.).
Washington played high school basketball at Frankford HS, just 15 miles southeast of the TU campus.
Just two games into the season, Rice features a handful of players ranked in the Conference USA statistical standings.
Guercy’s 17-point outburst on Wednesday vaulted him to 14th in scoring at 14.5 points per game. The freshman’s 10-for-10 mark at the foul line leads C-USA.
Seth Gearhart and Jackson are tied for 19th in scoring with 12.5 points per game. Jackson ranks third in rebounding with 10.0 boards per game. At 6-3, he is the shortest among the league’s top three, which includes Houston’s 6-8 TaShawn Thomas and UCF’s 6-9 Keith Clanton.
Julian DeBose is tied for 10th with 2.0 steals per game.