Dec. 6, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas - Rice University men's basketball returns home from a three-game road trip to host South Alabama on Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. In honor of the new start time, here are five things to know for the game.
- Rice ranks second in Conference USA in three-pointers made (8.63 per game) and three-point accuracy (36.5 percent), trailing only East Carolina in both categories. Austin Ramljak moved into second in C-USA with 3.63 three-pointers made per game after sinking seven treys on Wednesday at Houston Baptist. Also in the league leaders, Sean Obi continues to pace C-USA in shooting percentage (68.5) and the freshman ranks sixth in rebounding (8.0 per game).
- Rice has played six games that have been decided by four points or less this season, including each of the last three. Rice is 2-4 in those games, with five of the six coming away from Tudor Fieldhouse. The only four-point game was an overtime setback against Rider, making all six games come down to one possession in regulation. On Wednesday night, Rice overcame a 10-point deficit at Houston Baptist, but the persistent Huskies put together a late run in the second half to secure a 73-71 win. Ramljak knocked down seven three-pointers en route to 23 points. Seth Gearhart led the Owls with seven rebounds and three blocks while Keith Washington continued his hot streak with a career-high 18 points.
- Rice is 1-1 against South Alabama. Four players scored in double figures for the Owls in the last meeting, a 71-69 Rice win on Nov. 14, 2009. Tamir Jackson tallied 18 points, while Connor Frizzelle added 17, Lawrence Ghoram chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds and Lucas Kuipers notched 11 points in the narrow victory. The teams found themselves tied at 65-65 with one minute remaining in that game before Trey Stanton converted a three-point play and Ghoram added three free throws to ice the home win over the Jaguars. South Alabama won the first meeting, 112-64, in the 1975 Senior Bowl Tournament in Mobile.
- The Jaguars are led by Augustine Rubit's 16.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. He is the team's only double-figure scorer. The team shoots 41.6 percent from the field while holding opponents to 38.2 percent. South Alabama is 0-2 on the road this season, with an 84-77 setback at Texas and a 65-55 loss at C-USA newcomer Middle Tennessee. The Jaguars' only home loss was to C-USA's Southern Miss, 66-59 on Nov. 22. For Rubit (Houston/Christian Life Center Academy) and Ken Williams (Manvel/Episcopal HS), Saturday's game will be a homecoming of sorts as each hails from nearby.
- Saturday's 5 p.m. game is the last chance to catch the Owls in action before final exams. Rice takes a 12-day break to wrap up the semester before closing out the home stand on Dec. 19 against Northwood. That game is set for an early 11:30 a.m. start in Tudor Fieldhouse.
Owls Hold Off South Alabama, 71-69
The Owls starting backcourt of Cliff Ghoram, Connor Frizzelle and Tamir Jackson combine for 49 points as Owls win second game of Rice Basketball Challenge