Nov. 29, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball returns home from a bi-coastal four game road trip to host Houston Baptist on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Both Rice men's and women's basketball are working to raise breast cancer awareness on Saturday with the Avon Blue Bonnet Crusaders. Rice will host numerous events surrounding both games of the day's doubleheader to raise support and awareness for the worthy cause. Click HERE for more information.
The Owls (1-5) challenged Temple in Philadelphia before heading west to the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim over the Thanksgiving break. Rice saw breakout performances from Austin Ramljak and Tamir Jackson at the tournament, as the pair of upperclassmen tallied the team's three highest individual scoring outputs of the season.
Ramjlak connected on six three-pointers in the tournament opener against Georgia Tech to notch a season-best 18 points. Jackson then followed with a pair of 20-point performances against Drake and Drexel to move up to 18th on the program's career scoring list.
Saturday's game opens a five-game home stand for the Owls. After final exams, Rice hosts LIU-Brooklyn, Hartford, Chicago State and TCU before taking a holiday break.
Scouting the Huskies (3-3)
Houston Baptist enters Saturday's contest on a two-game skid after dropping a road game at Eastern Illinois last Saturday, 64-44.
Art Bernardi leads the team with 16.0 points on 50.6 percent shooting from the field. Tyler Russell also averages double-figure points with 11.7 per game. He leads the team with a 2.5 assists average.
The Huskies score just 15 percent of their 63.5 points per game from three-point range, but get to the foul line an average of 19.1 times per game.
HBU is 1-1 at home and has won a pair of neutral site games at the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. In true road games, the Huskies are 0-2.
The Huskies force 18.3 turnovers per game, led by Marcus Davis' 3.0 steals. HBU leads the Great West Conference with a +2.5 turnover margin.
Rice holds a 6-0 lead in the all-time series against nearby Houston Baptist. The teams met twice in the 1970s before a 20-year hiatus and a pair of meetings in the mid-1990s.
Saturday marks the third meeting in the last four seasons as Rice won by a margin of 60-46 in 2009-10 and 78-66 last season.
Jackson averages 15.0 points per game against the Huskies, including 20 points in the Nov. 30, 2011 win. Then a junior, the guard sank 10-of-16 free throws to accompany six rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.
The first three meetings between the teams were decided by an average of 5.0 points per game, while Rice has won the last three by a 16.7-point margin. Overall, the average score has been 80.3-69.5, in favor of the Owls.
Noting the Owls
Charity Stripe Success
• Through six games, Rice has converted an impressive 79-106 free throws (74.5 percent) to rank second in Conference USA behind only Southern Miss (75.4).
• The team sank 68.4 percent of shots from the foul line last season.
• The program record for free throw accuracy in a season is 74.0 percent, set by the 1967-68 team.
• Freshman Max Guercy is a perfect 14-of-14 at the line, while Gearhart is second on the team at 13-15 (86.7 percent).
• Five Rice players have attempted at least 10 free throws this season and each of them average 68.4 percent or better at the stripe.
Finding the Range
• Rice converts an average of 7.17 three-pointers per game to lead Conference USA. UAB ranks second with 7.0 per game.
• Two Owls rank in the league's top six in threes made per game, including Ramljak's fourth-place mark of 2.33 and Jackson's 2.17 treys per game average, ranking sixth.
• Last season, Rice sank 5.6 three-pointers per game.
• Ramljak came within two treys of the program record when he sank 6-of-12 against Georgia Tech on Nov. 22.
Handle with Care
• Since turning the ball over a season-high 22 times in the win over St. Edward's, Rice has lowered its total each of the last four games.
• As a result, opponents have been scoring fewer points off of Rice turnovers. Rice has allowed just two fast-break points in its last three games, and only 12 all season (2.0 per game).
• The last time Rice saw a reduction in turnovers for four-straight games was Feb. 19-March 5, 2011. Rice turned the ball over 16 times against Memphis, but committed fewer errors in each of the next four contests, culminating with a season-low five turnovers against Houston.
• Below is a look at Rice's improvement in controlling possession over the last five games.
|Opponent||Rice TO||Opp Pts
|Last Four Avg.||10.0||11.8||2.0|