HOUSTON— Rice begins a stretch of five out of six road games this Saturday, Dec. 19, when it travels to Albuquerque, N.M., to face New Mexico. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and will be televised by ROOT Sports Southwest.
• Rice and New Mexico will meet for just the sixth time and the first since 1999.
• The Lobos hold a 4-1 advantage in the series, including winning the last four games.
• Four of the five meetings came while the schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
• Rice enters today’s game with a 4-6 record. The Owls for their third straight win after defeating St. Thomas, 67-54, Thursday afternoon.
• Freshman Marcus Evans leads Conference USA in scoring, averaging 19.6 per game, as well as minutes played (33.6). He is also second in steals (2.1).
• Redshirt sophomore Egor Koulechov is third in Conference USA in scoring, averaging 17.7 points while leading the team with 6.5 rebounds. He is second in the league lead in three-pointers made (2.8), is tied for seventh in minutes played (32.7) and 10th in free throw percentage (.775).
• Freshman Marquez Letcher-Ellis is third on the team with 9.3 points and second with 5.1 rebounds. He is connecting on 52.5% from the field and is fourth in C-USA with 1.5 blocks.
• Senior Max Guercy is averaging 7.1 points while leading the league in assists per game (6.1) and free throw percentage (.860).
• Rice is averaging 73.9 points per game while allowing 79.6.
• The Owls are connecting on 43.7% from the field and 30.0% from the three-point line while allowing 46.7% from the field and 40.6% from beyond the arc.
Scouting New Mexico
• New Mexico enters the game with a 7-2 record. The Lobos have won two straight games after defeating New Mexico State, 79-61.
• The Lobos are led by sophomore guard Elijah Brown with 18.9 points, which is third in the Mountain West Conference. He is also second in free throw percentage (.851) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.355).
• Junior forward Tim Williams is sixth in the MW with 16.7 points per game. He also leads the league in field goal percentage (.571), is fourth in rebounding (8.3) and sixth in blocked shots (1.3).
• Sophomore guard Cullen Neal is scoring 14.8 points per game and leads the conference in assists (5.0).
• New Mexico is averaging 78.3 points per game while allowing 66.4.
• UNM leads the conference in field goal percentage, connecting on 47.2% from the floor. It is also connecting on 35.9% from three. The Lobos are allowing 39.5% from the floor and just 27.0% from three.
• Craig Neal is in his third season at the helm of the New Mexico basketball program, where he has a 49-25 (.662) record.
Rice vs. the Mountain West
• When the Owls face New Mexico, it will be their 85th meeting against current teams of the Mountain West Conference.
• Rice is 36-48 all-time against current members of the MWC.
• Of the 84 meetings, 67 came while Rice and its opponents were members of the Western Athletic Conference from 1996-2005.
• Head coach Mike Rhoades is 0-1 against the Mountain West.
• This will be the second meeting against the Mountain West Conference this year. The Owls fell to Fresno State, 82-65, on Nov. 22.
• Rice returns to the hardwood this Tuesday, Dec. 22, when it travels to Mobile, Ala., to face South Alabama. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT.